Moore to coordinate ECU special teams

Published 3:21 pm Saturday, January 2, 2016

Shannon Moore has been appointed special teams coordinator at East Carolina University according to an announcement from head football coach Scottie Montgomery on Saturday.

Moore will direct the Pirates’ punt, field goal, kickoff, return and coverage units after orchestrating the overhaul of one of the most improved special teams squads in Conference USA, if not nationally, during his two recent years of work at Florida International.

His 2015 edition topped the league and ranked among the country’s best in punt return average (10.8 ypr), most blocked kicks (four) and fewest blocks suffered (zero). Moore’s efforts at FIU followed eight seasons on the South Dakota State staff where he directed special teams play and worked with quarterbacks, tight ends and running backs.

“Shannon’s innovative and fundamentally-sound approach has translated into success for an area we consider to be an extremely integral part of our program,” Montgomery said. “His thoroughness in preparation, game-planning and coaching all phases of special teams is a contagious quality that is quite visible in person and in the results he’s achieved.”

His work rejuvenating the Golden Panthers’ specialists were reflected in a No. 14 national rank in overall efficiency. In addition, his kickoff return coverage squad stood 30th among all FBS programs by allowing only 19.2 yards per attempt.

Individually, All-Conference USA performer Richard Leonard topped the league and ranked 23rd nationally with a punt return average of 10.7, while also rating 18th in the country in combined kick returns (787 yards) under Moore’s leadership.

In 2014, Moore’s punt return unit established a school record with an 18.2 average for a No. 2 national rank and his kickoff return team was 23rd after netting 23.0 per attempt. Leonard, who earned first-team all-conference honors and was a three-time C-USA Special Teams Player-of-the-Week selection, set a FIU single-season standard with a 23.8 yards-per-return clip.

Prior to his move to Miami, Moore spent the previous eight seasons in a variety of roles at South Dakota State under head coach John Stiegelmeier, coordinating special teams and coaching tight ends from 2010 to 2013 before his departure.

Moore coached the running backs and tight ends in 2006, 2007 and 2008, before taking on the duties of special teams coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2009 campaign. In 2010, Moore returned to coaching the tight ends, while retaining special teams responsibilities.

During his tenure with the Jackrabbits, Moore coached four all-conference running backs and a pair of all-conference tight ends. At running back, Kyle Minett developed into a two-time All-America honoree while ranking second in career rushing with 4,277 yards. Anthony Watson and Cory Koenig also ended their careers in the top five on SDSU’s career rushing chart.

Moore played an instrumental role in the development of two-time All-Great West Football Conference tight end Chris Wagner, who later signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders. He also served as a mentor to tight end Colin Cochart, who earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors in 2010 and later signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Jackrabbits consistently ranked among the top teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in several special teams categories under Moore’s direction. SDSU ranked first or second in kickoff coverage in 2010 and 2011, while ranking among the Top 20 nationally for net punting in those respective campaigns as well. The Jackrabbits also stood ninth nationally for kickoff returns with an average of 23.86 yards per attempt in 2010.

In addition to his coaching duties, Moore performed a key role in the academic success of the South Dakota State football program, which led its league in the number of academic all-league selections in each of the eight seasons. In addition, six Jackrabbits earned Capital One Academic All-America honors, two received Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Athletic Directors Association Postgraduate Scholarships and another pair were bestowed with NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships.

Moore previously served as a graduate assistant at SDSU during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, working with the running backs, tight ends and special teams while pursuing a master’s degree in education administration. He later added a master’s degree in sports administration from South Dakota State in 2007.

Before returning to Brookings, he served as head coach of the Wyoming Cavalry of the National Indoor Football League, where he compiled an 18-11 record over two seasons. In 2005, Moore led the Casper-based Cavalry to a franchise-best 10-5 record and a playoff berth, while also serving as the team’s offensive coordinator.

A native of Gordon, Neb., Moore played three seasons at Black Hills (S.D.) State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 2000.

Moore’s addition marks the sixth official hire for the newly-appointment Montgomery, joining offensive coordinator Tony Petersen, defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson, defensive line coach Deke Adams, wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan and assistant athletics director for football operations Terrell Smith on the Pirates’ staff. Additionally, Rick Smith was retained as secondary coach on Dec. 23.