COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The wide range of athletic
contributions made during his four-year career at Tennessee Tech
earned John Moorhead recognition as a “Universal Man”
for the Golden Eagles, and he carried that versatility into his
military and professional careers.
Moorhead was part of two Ohio Valley Conference championship football teams and a two-time all-OVC selection on the gridiron while playing up to nine different position, and was also an OVC champion in track and field, competing in as many as 10 different events while setting school and conference records.
In recognition of all that success with two Golden Eagle teams, Moorhead is one of five people who will be enshrined into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 30, as the school honors its athletic legacy with the 35th annual induction ceremony.
The 2009 Hall of Fame Class will be honored during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 30-31. The induction will take place at the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday evening, and the group will also be recognized at the Homecoming football game Saturday against Tennessee State.
Moorhead earned four letters in both football and track and field, and was one of the school’s most versatile athletes from 1955 until his graduation in 1959.
On the gridiron, he was a second-team all-OVC halfback in 1956 and earned first-team all-OVC laurels in 1958 as a fullback. He helped coach Wilburn Tucker’s teams capture the OVC championship in 1955 with a 5-0 league record and a 7-3 overall mark. Four years later, Tech shared the league crown in 1958 with a 5-1 OVC record and another 7-3 overall log. The team had four straight winning seasons, compiling a 25-14-1 overall record and a 16-5 conference record.
In addition to right and left halfback and right and left fullback, Moorhead played middle linebacker on defense and also lined up on kickoff, kick return and punt teams, did some punting and was the backup placekicker.
Moorhead also realized much success on the Tech track and field team. Again, his versatility was evident as he routinely participated in six to eight events – both track and field -- during each track meet. He consistently scored points in each meet. He competed in the low and high hurdles, 100, 220 and 440-yard sprints and mile relay, and the discus, broad jump, high jump and javelin.
In 1956, Moorhead was a member of the mile relay team broke a school record that had stood for six years. Three years later, he helped the mile relay team break both the school and OVC records. In between, he claimed the OVC individual championship in the long jump in 1958.
In 1959, serving as the team’s co-captain, Moorhead scored 31.25 points in the OVC meet, the most ever scored by a single participant. Following that season, John was co-winner of the school’s Athletic Medal, akin to today’s Outstanding Male Athlete award.
After graduation, John served for 25 years as a U.S. Army officer, retiring in 1983 with the rank of Colonel.
Interestingly, John did not end his football career when he graduated from Tech. He quarterbacked his team to the 5th Army Championship Harvest Bowl on Thanksgiving Day, 1960, and led his team in 1961 to the 7th Army Championship in Korea.
Following his military career, he lived in Clarksville, Tenn., which honored him with a “John Moorhead Day” to commemorate his years of exemplary service to the community.
Joining Moorhead in the Class of 2009 are Dena Adams Fairley, Jim Bishop, Tony Stone and Branon Vaughn. With their induction, the Hall of Fame will grow to 153 since it was established in 1975.
Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner and the game are available by calling (931) 372-3940, or through the Athletics ticket office in Eblen Center. Reservations must be made for the dinner, and tickets are $25 each.