Prep Football

Iowa City High will hire Mitchell Moore as new head varsity football coach

Iowa City High students run the flags along with the team during pregame introductions at Bates Field in Iowa City on Fr
Iowa City High students run the flags along with the team during pregame introductions at Bates Field in Iowa City on Friday, October 25, 2019. (Justin Torner/Freelance for The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — He’ll be just the fifth head coach at Iowa City High since 1947. He’ll be just the third in the last 42 years.

That isn’t lost on Mitchell Moore.

“First of all, I’m extremely humbled and honored to get an opportunity to lead what I consider to be one of the most storied programs in the history of the state of Iowa,” Moore said Sunday, after it was announced he would take over the football program at the school, pending school board approval. “I think that’s been such an attraction from the beginning. I think there really is phenomenal leadership in our principal Mr. John Bacon, who has done just an outstanding job of kind of showing me the vision of what he believes can be the next chapter of Iowa City High football.

“It’s just a really unique town and a really unique support system around City High, and, in particular, I think City High football. So when you add all those things up, for me, it’s just one of those opportunities in life for a guy who has always wanted to be a leader of men and run a great football program. It’s one of those programs where you can put all those things together and be successful.”

Moore replaces Dan Sabers, who recently announced he was stepping down after 20 years as City High head coach. Larry Brown led the Little Hawks for the 21 years prior to Sabers.

Moore has a unique background. He’s a Ballard graduate who won NCAA Division III national championships as a player and coach at Wisconsin-Whitwater.

He then spent time in Iowa State’s program, mostly in a recruiting position for both Paul Rhoads and Matt Campbell. He went back to the prep level for two years at Greene County, then moved to Des Moines Roosevelt, where he led the Roughriders to their first playoff appearance in 23 years last season.

Roosevelt went 6-3 in 2019, 1-1 this past season, not being allowed to play past Week 2 because the Des Moines Public School District decided to conduct classes online only.


“Five years ago, I sat in Coach Campbell’s office, and we really had a heart-felt conversation about the direction of my career,” Moore said. “I went through some really drastic changes while I was at Iowa State, of course. You’re watching the whole Mark Mangino fiasco go down, and then you have Coach Rhoads, a man that I admired and respected for his job at Iowa State, I was kind of the last one who stayed, me and Coach (Lou) Ayeni, who’s now at Northwestern.

“It just seemed like every two or three years, you’ve got to start at the bottom of the totem pole, unless you are a coordinator or unless you are a position coach. My passion was always to someday be a head coach. So when I got that opportunity at Greene County five years ago, Coach Campbell just said ‘Absolutely, you need to take it.’ I’ll never forget this. Wally Burnham, who was our defensive coordinator at Iowa State for years, said the best thing you ever do being a coach is put that head coach title behind your name, because it gives you perspective on coaching that you’re never going to get from any other position. That resonated with me.”

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