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Oswald Moore: A true Bahamian sports icon!

Local coach hopeful that glory days of women’s volleyball will be restored
  • VOLLEYBALL LEGEND: Bahamian Oswald ‘Ozzie’ Moore recently captured The Bahamas’ Icon Awards for sports. He has spent more than 20 years coaching volleyball here in The Bahamas, and once guided the senior ladies national program to the FIVB World Championships. TNG FILE PHOTO

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Jul 24, 2013

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Oswald ‘Ozzie’ Moore, who served as a player and administrator in two sporting disciplines here in The Bahamas, was recently recognized by the Bahamas Icon Awards committee for his outstanding work as a coach. Moore received the icon awards for sports two Saturdays ago, which was a fitting honor for the more than 20 years he put into the sport of volleyball here in The Bahamas.

His crowning glory moment as a coach came in leading The Bahamas’ senior women national volleyball team to the 1974 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championships, the highest level in the world for volleyball. Those championships, organized by the world's governing body for volleyball, FIVB (International Federation of Volleyball), were staged in Guadalajara, Mexico in October of 1974. Today, the senior women’s national program is just a shell of its former self, and Moore believes that it will take a lot of hard work for The Bahamas to return to prominence.

“What you would see today is that the men’s national team is the strongest that we have ever had, but the women are struggling,” said Moore. “I think that the men are well on their way toward qualifying for the world championships and the Olympics. The ladies, on the other hand, need a lot of work. It takes more than just going to a couple of practices a week to build a team that can compete internationally. A lot of the teams that we have to play against spend most of their day practicing, sometimes up to five/six days per week. We don’t have that luxury here in The Bahamas, and that is causing us.”

Moore started coaching volleyball in 1968, and spent more than 20 years affiliated with the ladies national team. He also spent some time playing with the men’s national team in the early seventies.

Today, he represents The Bahamas as a member of the Super Seniors squad for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships. He served in both local governing bodies as an administrator - a treasurer in golf and a vice president in volleyball. It is in the latter in which his name became synonymous with sports here in The Bahamas - particularly as a coach in the seventies.

“Volleyball is hard work, and to get teams to do well, you have to put a lot into it. Back then, we spent a lot of time with the girls out on Saunders Beach starting from as early as six in the morning, three morning per week. In the evenings, we would go into the gym for practice sessions so we were constantly preparing for competition,” said Moore. “What is most satisfying as a coach is when you take someone at a very young age, coach them to a scholarship for college, watch them come home and contribute to society, have kids, and then coach their kids to scholarships. It gives one an accomplished feeling. From generation to generation, it’s been a long time for me.

“I was surprised to be nominated for the icon award because I am a low key guy. I’m one of the calmest coaches you would ever see. I just want to thank the persons who nominated me, and those who felt that I had significant accomplishments in volleyball to be considered for the icon award for sports. Also, thanks to the committee for selecting me. Any of the ones who were there could have won because they all had stellar achievements.”

In volleyball, Moore said that his mentors would be men such as the late Tom ‘The Bird’ Grant, the late Leviticus ‘Uncle Lou’ Adderley, Dr. Norman Gay and Leonard ‘Skinny’ Archer who all came before him. Today, he helps out with the Kingsway Academy Saints volleyball program. This past school year, he helped guide their junior girls to the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) title, and in total, Kingsway has won seven BAISS titles during his 12 years there. One of the players from their undefeated senior boys team two years ago, Vardo Rolle, got a scholarship to play volleyball in Missouri, and is currently maintaining a 3.6 Grade Point Average (GPA).

“At Kingsway, we stress grades first, and then focus on volleyball,” said Moore. “It is so satisfying when you see your kids go off to college and excel academically. That is the main focus right there.”

In night league volleyball, Moore coached the Paradise Birds and Bees, winning a whopping 20 consecutive championships at one point.

“We had a system where we had seniors and juniors so when the seniors would move off the scene and go to college, the juniors would be there to replace them,” said Moore. “It was an ideal feeder system for us. We were impossible to beat at that time.”

Earley next month, Moore will travel as a member of the national golf team to the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships. Those championships will be held at the Mahogany Run Golf Course in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, from August 4-10, 2013. Moore will represent the country as a member of the Super Seniors squad (Over 60). This will be his fourth time representing The Bahamas on the national golf team. The Bahamian Super Seniors finished fourth in St. Kitts & Nevis last year, and Moore said that they are looking to improve on that performance this year. Just recently, he finished first overall in the Super Seniors category at the Miami Dade Open.

Moore said that as national team members, they are always looking for sponsorship, and whatever financial help they can get will be greatly appreciated.

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