STARKVILLE — Joe Moorhead isn’t a fan of talking about himself at length. Mississippi State’s new football coach said as much as he addressed supporters of the Boys & Girls Club of the Golden Triangle Thursday night, when he found a way to tell his tale from playing youth sports in Pittsburgh to his exceedingly brief professional football career all in the span of a few minutes.
Unfortunately for him, his audience wanted to hear every word of it and more.
Moorhead was the star speaker at the Sports Talk Charity Fundraiser at the Bryan Building on MSU’s campus Thursday night, a significant fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of the Golden Triangle. He went straight to the event from the practice field — with his whistle from practice still in his pocket — and came upon an appreciative audience when he got there.
“I thought his talk was very appropriate for this occasion,” retiree Jerry Gill said. “I thought he was very likable.”
After repeating some of his visions and goals for the MSU football program under his leadership, Moorhead brought his audience in with self deprication.
“Some people say you had a cup of coffee in the pros, but I might have had a single sip; maybe just a sniff of the cup,” Moorhead said to laughter. “When you get cut from the Arena League, that’s when you know it’s time to hang it up.”
Once the jokes were done, Moorhead praised the Boys & Girls Club for its role in the community. He described his childhood in Pennsylvania, when kids had little to do other than play rudimentary games with each other until their mothers summoned them home for dinner. As he has parented his three children, he has found that today’s youth has many more options than his generation did, “but not all of them are good.”
He praised the Boys & Girls Club for giving local youth good options to occupy their time.
“It’s a unifier, it’s not a divider, and that’s important,” Moorhead said. “There are too many things that divide us.”
Moorhead did his part after the speech to be a unifier himself. He was summoned back to the podium to receive a plaque thanking him for his appearance, then stopped to take pictures with at least a dozen children as the club was announcing the winners of the silent auction held that night. Alex Jackson, 6, said it was great to get a moment of Moorhead’s time.
“I hope he wins all the games,” Jackson said.
The event raised money for the club through silent auctions items that were sports-related — including signed memorabilia from Moorhead and from the football programs at Ole Miss and Alabama — and non-sports items, such as spa packages and hotel packages. The event doubled as a sponsorship drive for the club.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson