A variety of characteristics define a good man. Common phrases about a man’s success or wealth are normally mentioned, but a model character that impacts every person one comes in contact with is a diamond in the rough. For Reinhardt University, that diamond has been assistant football coach Quentin Moses.
Tragedy struck the entire Reinhardt community last Sunday morning when RU’s beloved football coach Quentin Moses passed away after being in a house fire. The following Wednesday, Feb. 15, the entire Reinhardt community and many others gathered together to celebrate and honor the life of their coach, friend and family member at 2 p.m. in the gymnasium at the James and Sis Brown Athletic Center.
Coach Moses’ significance to others reflected in the turnout Wednesday afternoon. The gymnasium, converted into an event space, was standing-room only as people came to celebrate his life. Throughout the ceremony, emotions ran high. Tears and cries scattered throughout the gym as the sorrow clouded over those in attendance.
Reinhardt University’s athletic director, coach Bill Popp, and head football coach James Miller both struggled to speak as the weight of the loss came down heavy on their spirits. A candle lighting portion of the ceremony captivated the peace of Coach Moses’ departure as the Reinhardt University Chamber Singers sang very gracefully. The Rev. Lee Powell of Lake Arrowhead Church closed the ceremony with uplifting words, saying, “Quentin Moses’ game on earth has come to an end, but his season in Heaven has just begun.”
The constant thought of his missing presence has dismayed everyone he has impacted, and family members, players and coaches everywhere struggle to accept their loss. Reinhardt’s head football coach James Miller is trying his best to stay strong not just for his players but for the entire community.
“I’ve never gone through something like this, so it’s also a learning experience,” said Miller. “It’s going to be hard for a while. I’m trying to be strong for them (the players), but it’s tough sometimes, especially when you see the kids upset. You never want them to go through something like this, especially knowing how close he was to them. He meant a lot to the kids, and he meant a lot to the staff.”
Moses, 33, was commonly described as “inspirational and well-liked” by colleagues and family. His passion for the game of football, his faith in Christ and his character as a role model all contribute to the love and appreciation of the many people he has impacted. As hard as the toll of his death has been, positive thoughts and memories continue to resonate throughout the hearts of players and coaches in the community.
“Coach Moses was a strong-willed man,” said junior linebacker Devin Francois. “He stood up for what he believed in and was never afraid to show it. You could see that he genuinely cared about people and always wanted the best for everyone.”
Junior safety and team captain Jalen Holloman credits coach Moses mainly for his success off the field, as he inspired Holloman as a communication major.
“Ever since he recruited me, he always told me to just be patient and my time will come,” said Holloman. “His ability to share his stories and life lessons is why I decided to pursue sports journalism. He emphasized the need to let my actions speak louder than my words, and even though he is gone, that’s exactly what I will continue to do.”
During his playing days, Moses embodied the image of a phenom. According to ESPN.com, Moses was ranked among the top 50 recruits in Georgia his senior season at Cedar Shoals High School as a defensive end. After his impressive four years at the University of Georgia, Moses was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the first pick in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. After being cut, he spent time with the Arizona Cardinals before finding a home with the Miami Dolphins, where he finished his career after the 2009 offseason.
“He was a ball of energy on the field,” said Miller, referring to coaching against Moses as a graduate assistant in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. “I remember preparing our team against him thinking about how talented he was as a ball player. His ability to get after a quarterback could change an entire game.”
As prestigious as he was as on the field as a player, everyone who was close to Moses speaks highly about his noble character as a man. His ability to influence happiness wherever he went is a trait coach Miller has always been captivated by.
“He always had that infectious smile,” said Miller. “He had this positive demeanor that no matter what someone was going through that day, he could always cheer them up when they saw him. It poured into the spirit of his players and with our staff. He was never down, never had a bad day.”
Coach Miller looked up to many characteristics of Moses, but there was one that he will never forget.
“If there’s one thing I’ll always remember about Quentin, it was his ability to see the positive in everyone,” said Miller. “Every kid that he ever came in touch with, he never saw the negative; he always saw what they were good for. It inspired me as a mentor, as a coach and as a father.”
“He related with the kids so well. He’d do anything for them, and a lot of kids saw him as a father figure and respected him that way. He was a people person and a people pleaser. If our kids are anything like Q, they’re going to be successful. Quentin’s one of the best people I’ve ever met. It’s going to be difficult going out on that field and not seeing him out there with us.”
Although this loss has put a cloud over the Reinhardt football team and community, Coach Miller has faith that Coach Moses’ legacy will live on at Reinhardt as those he impacted will continue his positive influence and strength both on and off the field.
“The best part about Reinhardt is that this is a family atmosphere,” explained Miller. “We’re going to grow as a community, move forward as a team, and use this to make us better. That’s what makes this place special, and Quentin was proud to be a part of that; he loved that.”
Coach Moses was laid to rest Saturday following a memorial service in his hometown of Athens, Ga.
Written by: Daniel Hinton