CHICAGO, Ill. — Surviving the Windy City is one thing, thriving there is a whole different ball game.
Owen Moore — a 2014 Gallia Academy High School graduate — recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Public Policy Studies, after playing four years of football for the Maroons.
“It was definitely not easy, but I had a great time,” Moore said “I made a lot of great friends over the years. I’m really glad I did it, and I would do it again, even though it was difficult. It was a great experience that most people don’t get to have, so I’m very thankful for it.”
Chicago — one of the top academic universities in the nation — is an NCAA Division III school, that competes in the University Athletic Association.
While with the Maroons, Moore was coached by Chris Wilkerson, who has a 30-19 record in five seasons with the program.
“Owen was simply one of the most outgoing and gregarious individuals I have ever had the opportunity to coach,” said Wilkerson. “He had some ups and downs throughout his playing career, but the one thing that stayed consistent was his smile, sense of humor and commitment to the team. He truly defined being a student-athlete and a team player. I know Owen will be successful at whatever he does, and he will deeply missed.”
On the gridiron, Moore was a four-year varsity letter winner, competing in 37 games on the offensive line. Moore helped to pave the way for the school’s second all-time leading rusher, Chandler Carroll, while also blocking for the program’s second all-time leading passer, Burke Moser.
Owen’s college career started out with a bang, as he played in all-9 games in his freshman season, helping UC to an 8-1 record and a UAA Championship.
“That was a really special team, we had a really great group of seniors that year,” Moore said of the championship squad. “We went 8-1 that year and ended up beating Case Western — which is one of our rivals — in the final game at their place in the snow, in order to clinch the title outright.”
The Maroons went 6-4 in 2015, with Moore playing all-10 games on the offensive line. Moore missed a game in each his junior and senior seasons, helping Chicago win four games in 2016 and six games in 2017.
In Moore’s four seasons, Chicago had a combined league record of 18-9, winning at least 50 percent of its league games each fall.
Moore was a member of the University Athletic Association All-Academic team three years. As a senior he was selected to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.
Moore noted that the road trips, such as a visiting historical landmarks in San Antonio, Texas, prior to a game at Trinity College, as some of the best memories to go along with his football career.
Moore completed his degree a quarter early, graduating from the university with honors in March.
“It was the best school I could have asked for, I would never want to go anywhere else,” Moore said. “I had a great time there, amazing experiences, world-class professors and classmates. I was able to have so many opportunities there, that I never would have had if I had gone somewhere else.”
Currently, Moore is interning at a lower-middle market investment bank in Chicago, and is hoping to stay on as analyst.
Moore may have found a new place to call home, but has not forgotten the people who have helped him along the way.
“I just want to thank my family for being so supportive and really paving the way for me to accomplish everything that I have,” Moore said. “I also want to thank everybody back home in the Gallipolis and Gallia County greater community that has always supported me.
“I have a lot of friends that have grown up in different places and they definitely didn’t have any sort of community like ours. I’ve always had people helping me grow and develop both as a football player and as a student, and I’m really thankful for that, because it would not have been as easy as it was without those kind of people.”
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.