College Sports

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ESPY winner turns down WWU celebration

A former Western Washington football player who was set to receive the ESPY award he won 15 years ago has declined to take part in the school's planned celebration in protest of WWU's recent decision to drop its football program.

WWU had planned to present Chris Moore, 37, with the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) award he received in 1992 at halftime of a basketball game this season, but now Moore isn't interested. Moore contacted Western on Wednesday, Jan. 14, to say he wouldn't be attending the event.

"I'll just pick it up the next time I come through town," Moore said in a phone interview.

Moore won the award for "Greatest College Play" at ESPN's inaugural awards show for a juggling catch he made against the University of Puget Sound. Despite being named the award's winner at the 1992 show, it wasn't until this December that the actual trophy arrived on campus. Moore was set to accept the trophy in Bellingham in the next month or so.

"I'm not one for drawing attention to myself to begin with," Moore said. "I kind of thought of it as a way to celebrate my teammates and celebrate the football program. Now that there is no more football, I don't want to represent a program the school has decided to drop."

WWU sports information director Paul Madison had campaigned for years to get Moore the award, but it wasn't until a WWU alumnus who happened to work at ESPN pulled a few strings that the award came.

"It was tough to say no because I know how much effort Paul, and some other WWU people worked to get that award for me," Moore said. "I appreciate what they did very much."

The play, or "The Catch" as it has come to be known, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube. Moore also recently tried to recreate the catch for a Fox Sports television program called "Sports Science." After 100 attempts he couldn't come close to duplicating the tumbling, juggling feat.

"I wouldn't have won the ESPY without football," Moore said.

Reach Joe Sunnen at joe.sunnen@bellinghamherald.com or 756-2862.

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