More than 30 years after he was invited to New York as one of the finalists for football’s Heisman Trophy, Shawn Moore has been chosen for another honor that will be awarded closer to his home.
Moore, a star quarterback at Martinsville High School before he set records at the University of Virginia, learned this week that he has been named to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Some would say it was long overdue but it’s better late than never.
He is joined in this year’s class by Virginia Tech defensive back DeAngelo Hall, longtime William and Mary football coach Jimmye Laycock, Olympian Francena McCorory, Charlottesville sportswriter Jerry Ratcliffe, Roanoke College lacrosse standout Bob Rotanz, Christopher Newport track standout Sheila Trice-Myers, and Virginia and Washington Nationals baseball star Ryan Zimmerman. The Hall of Fame will also present William & Mary football legend Joe Montgomery with its Distinguished Virginian Award, presented to an individual “who, by personal example, exemplifies the best ideals and purposes of sport exhibiting superior leadership qualities in education, athletics, business and in the community.”
To many, Martinsville is best known for its auto racing, but it was hard to overlook the Bulldogs’ football and basketball teams in the 1980s and beyond.
“I didn’t get caught up in the whole time frame,” said Moore, whose college accomplishments were hard to overlook as his selection seemed increasingly overdue. “Most people were like, ‘I already thought you were in.’ “
He had known about it for a month but recently had an illness and had only spoken of his selection to his parents and his son, Mike, a past UVa offensive lineman.
Moore, now associate director of development for the University of Virginia athletic department, doesn’t know if his parents will be able to attend the 2023 induction in April in Virginia Beach.
“I hope they do,” said executive director Will Driscoll. “It was really exciting last year when Chris Warren and Anthony Poindexter were inducted and their parents could be there with them.
“One thing that has stuck out to me about the announcement is how much Shawn’s induction means to the Martinsville area/community.”
Nikki Fisher was a running back who played with Moore at Martinsville and UVa.
“Shawn should have been in the [hall of fame] the moment he graduated,” Fisher said.
After a 1990 season in which he was named ACC player of the year, Moore was selected as one of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy that went to Brigham Young’s Ty Detmer.
It can be a long drive from the southeastern part of the state, but Driscoll took a trip through Virginia’s Southside region this past spring in hopes of spreading good words about the hall.
Moore’s selection has left others in Martinsville and Henry County discussing who else might be worthy of induction.
Lou Whitaker, a Martinsville High School graduate, is best known as a major-league infielder who spent 14 seasons with the Detroit Tigers’ baseball franchise and had his No. 1 uniform retired this past August.
He is in the state of Michigan’s hall of fame.
Driscoll said previous attempts to induct Whitaker as a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame were unsuccessful, but others, such as retired Henry County administrator Tim Hall, have offered to pick up the cause.
Hall was a pitcher at Martinsville High School before heading to James Madison. He later worked as a sportswriter for the Lynchburg News and Advance.
Martinsville doesn’t lack for hall of fame candidates, including former UVa outside linebacker Ed Reynolds, who played football at what was then known as Drewry Mason High School in Henry County.
Reynolds played in 135 games over 10 years in the NFL, nine with the New England Patriots, and later held a position in the NFL office for 12 years, part of it as a “special assistant” to the commissioner.
Not to be forgotten is Jeff Adkins, a McDonald’s All-America basketball player at Martinsville High School who scored 977 points in a four-year career at Maryland, where he played in a consecutive 118 games. After three decades of coaching, Adkins most recently took a job as the head coach at Halifax High School.