WEST BRANCH - A 1978 graduate of Michigan State with a teaching degree, new Ogemaw Heights baseball coach Rick Moore taught and coached for what he estimated to be about 12 years.

Moore was a pitcher for the Spartans' baseball team for three years. Following graduation, he was an assistant baseball coach at Lansing Catholic Central for a year. He got his first teaching job at Quincy.

He eventually landed a head coaching job at Litchfield for one year, but then he got caught up in the recession of the early 1980's and moved down to Texas where he got a job teaching at Clear Lake High School in Texas, and was a junior varsity coach there for five years. He lost that job as well because of the recession.

Undaunted, Moore started up his own driver's education school and was a businessman for a few years before concluding that things weren't going to work out and moving back to Michigan, got a teaching job in Detroit. He's also run youth baseball clinics with other coaches.

Not long after retiring in April he saw an ad in the newspaper about Ogemaw Heights looking for a varsity baseball coach. He wasn't sure at first that he wanted to apply for the position.

"I was talking with my brother, and he said 'Why don't you give it a shot?'," Moore said. "So, I thought 'Okay, I will.' I really missed baseball. I'm one of those die-hard Tiger fans. Staying right with them.

"So, I said 'You know what, that would be great to give it a try,' because I wouldn't have to do any teaching. Strictly just coaching baseball, which I absolutely love. I contacted athletic director (Jon) Studley, and filled out my resume and sent it into him."

Moore went in for the interview, and passed the test.

Although he hasn't had a chance to meet with any of the players yet, Moore plans on going to as many winter sports events as possible to watch the athletes and take it from there. He did receive a list of players on last year's baseball rosters, both varsity and junior varsity.

He's also talked with Studley about the baseball program, and says he just hopes to carry on the Falcons' tradition on the diamond.

"I'm a believer in the fundamentals of baseball," Moore says. "We practice on those skills and drills all the time. I am in a believer in small ball. We trained on that as I was growing up in high school, and we (Midland) won the state championship in 1973 against Royal Oak Kimball, which was the defending state champion. We beat them, 1-0 in nine innings.

"We did a suicide squeeze (bunt) in the top of the ninth inning and got a run in. Then I shut them down, two strike outs and a ball hit to my second baseman, and we ended up winning the state championship."

For Moore, small ball is the game.

"Now, I don't mind having a home run jacked in there once in awhile," Moore added with a chuckle. "But, just moving the ball, stealing and heads-up ball is what I strive for the athletes to do."