2003 Springwood graduates Dawson, Moore honored last Friday night

Published 7:58 pm Monday, January 21, 2019

LANETT — Springwood alumni Jessica Elmore Dawson and Bryan Moore are new inductees into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. 

They were given plaques by Headmaster Rick Johnson at halftime of Friday’s home basketball game between the Wildcats and Lee-Scott.

The Springwood Alumni Association established the Hall of Fame in 2004. To be considered for the honor, alumni must have graduated from Springwood at least 15 years ago. Dawson and Moore graduated in 2003.

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While at Springwood, Jessica was a member of three region championship and one state runner-up basketball teams, one final four softball team and lettered in golf one year. Bryan was a member of the 2002 boys state championship basketball team and a member of the 2001 region championship football team. In 2002, Jessica and Bryan played in back-to-back games at Huntingdon College with state titles on the line.

“Jess was a joy to coach,” Dickie McCarthy, who coached her at Springwood, said. “Born to be a point guard, she was a real student of the game. Her basketball IQ was off the scale, and having her in the game was like having a coach on the floor. Even though small in stature, she used her intelligence and basketball sense to outplay much taller opponents. One of my fondest memories of Jess was that she hated to lose, which is never a bad trait for a player. She enthusiastically embraced the winning tradition of the Springwood girls’ basketball program and felt a strong obligation to keep that tradition going.”

Dawson’s former teacher, Marie Ward, echoed McCarthy’s praise.

“Jessica was born an athlete,” Ward said. “She’s a small package of dynamite. The determination and spirit of the girls’ basketball team were inspiring to be a part of through Jessica and my own daughter, played with her. The team mantra before every game expresses the spirit of those years – ‘She who wills to win cannot be beaten.’”

Tad Niblett, Bryan’s high school football coach, remembers his competitive spirit.

“Bryan was a hard worker who really studied and understood the game,” he said. “We moved him to quarterback his sophomore year, and he made an immediate impact. He led us to the semifinals in football his junior year. He was also well-rounded, playing multiple sports as well as being a leader on campus,”

Former teammate Brandon Johnson remembers his competitive drive.

“That’s what stood out the most,” Johnson said.

Johnson remembers that from an alumni basketball game the two were in.

“We were on opposing teams, and I was expecting a fun little game between guys who had not seen each other in a while. Boy was I wrong,” he said. “The opening tip was knocked my way. I gathered it in and was headed to what I thought was going to be an easy layup. I was undercut and knocked down by my good friend Bryan Moore. He meant for it to be a real game. That’s the way he is today. I have never been around a better coach. His standard for excellence is carried in many avenues of his life as a Christian, husband and father. I know this standard is something that was developed at Springwood School. He is one of the toughest guys I have ever been around.”

Both Dawson and Moore are graduates of Auburn University.

While working in the Chambers County School System, Dawson coached a junior varsity girls team to an undefeated season in 2009. She later coached softball at Glenwood School, where she led the Lady Gators to a AAA state title. She went on to teach and coach at Macon East Academy in Cecil, where she coached volleyball, basketball and softball. Her Lady Knights softball teams won back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013.

Dawson, along with her husband Jonathan and daughter Savannah, lives in Opelika today. She is now an educator in the Russell County School System.

During his sophomore year at Auburn, Moore coached under Roddie Beck at Lee-Scott Academy. After college, he taught history at Opelika High and coached various sports for the Bulldogs. He began as a ninth grade coach before being promoted to the varsity staff in 2009. He coached tight ends for two years before becoming offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He spent four years at this position before becoming the head coach at Eufaula High School. Currently, he is the head football coach and director of football operations at Jasper High School. This past year, his Vikings won the 5A Region 7 championship and advanced to the third round of the AHSAA playoffs, finishing with an 11-2 record. His overall record in four years as a head coach is 37-11 and 22-3 in region play.

Moore, along with his wife, fellow Springwood School graduate Lindsey, and his sons Parker, Baker and Tucker, now live in Jasper.