Football

New Iowa City High School football coach Mitch Moore ready to revitalize program

New Iowa City High School football coach Mitch Moore ready to revitalize program

The last time the Iowa City High School football program was led by a first-year Little Hawk head coach was 20 years ago. Now, Mitch Moore is taking over, looking to get the historically successful program back to prominence.

The City High football program hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. The program won its last Class 4A state championship in 2009.

Previous head coach Dan Sabers retired after the 2020-21 season. Sabers spent 40 years in the Little Hawk football program and the past 20 as City High’s head coach. In his last season with Iowa City high, Sabers went 2-5 in the shortened season.

Iowa City High football coach Mitch Moore talks in a huddle during the Desmond King Football Camp at Iowa City High on Saturday, June 19, 2021. City High announced Moore as the new coach of the Little Hawks in November of 2020.

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The last time the Iowa City High School football program was led by a first-year Little Hawk head coach was 20 years ago. Now, Mitch Moore is taking over, looking to get the historically successful program back to prominence.

The City High football program hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. The program won its last Class 4A state championship in 2009.

Previous head coach Dan Sabers retired after the 2020-21 season. Sabers spent 40 years in the Little Hawk football program and the past 20 as City High’s head coach. In his last season with Iowa City high, Sabers went 2-5 in the shortened season.

Now, Moore thinks it is time to get the program back to its winning ways. It’s a challenge he said excites him.

“I want to win a state championship this year,” Moore said. “I know a lot of people are scared to say that, or don’t want to say that. But my goal, my expectation for this program is let’s go win a state championship this year. I’m never going to look those seniors in the eye and say, ‘Hey, three years from now I think we can be a state championship-caliber program.’

He was previously on the Iowa State coaching staff from 2013-17, starting as a graduate assistant. In 2016, he was promoted to Director of Iowa High School Relations and Assistant Director of Scouting.

Moore took his first head coaching job at Greene County High School in Jefferson, Iowa, for the 2017-18 season.

Though Moore went 1-8 in his first season at Greene County, he led the Rams to an 8-2 record in 2018-19, making the playoffs. In the 2018-19 season, Moore was named the Class 2A District 9 Coach of the Year.

Moore took a step up in 2019-20 at his second head coaching job at Class 4A Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa — a program that hadn’t made the playoffs since 1996.

Moore led the Roughriders to a playoff appearance in his first season in 2019-20, finishing with a 6-4 record.

So, what is Moore’s secret to building programs fast?

“I would tell every single person, just the genuine relationships that I build with the kids and that our coaching staff builds with the kids,” Moore said. “I would rather know what makes a kid tick, what makes a kid be the best version of him, rather than teaching him how to run running back or quarterback power. I think it’s a lot more intriguing to me and we’re going to get a lot more out of the kid if we know that we have a great relationship with them.”

Relationships can’t develop is everything is always easy, Moore said. So, struggle, sacrifice, and great communication with his athletes help him build his programs.

Moore has been leading his athletes through summer workouts, and he said the seniors have the desire to change the narrative from their past seasons.

“We’re an organized program and we’re detailed and there’s a bunch of energy around our program,” Moore said. “And I think that’s the biggest thing I want people to take away. That this isn’t just fake enthusiasm, this is detailed energy. We like to say we’re organized chaos. And during practice we’re organized chaos so that when we get to a game, we can play fast, we can play fun, we can play loose, and we’re going to attack the football on both sides of the ball.

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