Originally posted on May 13, 2022
Reposted for the World Champs, July 19, 2022
Pat Tyson was the roommate of the late Steve Prefontaine. Pat Tyson was one of the finest high school coaches in the country. Now, Pat Tyson is coaching at Gonzaga University.
This was Pat Tyson’s remembrance of Kenny Moore, who passed away on May 4, 2022.
Remembering Kenny Moore – 5th In A Series With Pat Tyson
By Jeff Benjamin
“I first met Kenny Moore in the fall of 1968. He had just come back to Eugene from Mexico City where I believe he placed 7th in the Marathon! At 8000 feet altitude! He was on a brief furlough, as he was in the US Army. I was an 18-year-old freshman at Oregon. I was trying to find my way. When I was brave enough to say hello to Kenny, he just ignored me. Tough pill to swallow. But those were the times. It seemed that the only way one could gain respect in the “Men of Oregon” machine Bill Hayward and Bill Bowerman created was to show your stuff in workouts! Show your stuff in meets! You had to earn that respect. At the time, I didn’t totally understand that. So I became basically intimidated by Kenny. Stayed away when he was working out at Hayward Field. Thought he was an ass hole. Seemed beyond full of himself.
Fast forward to 1972. I had evolved into a good runner at Oregon. I had gained the respect! I was the 3rd man on Oregon’s first NCAA title the previous fall of 1971. Steve Prefontaine had invited me to be his roommate. Kenny, like just about anyone in our sport, was inspired and intrigued by this kid from Coos Bay. That piece allowed me into Kenny’s world. Conversations became easy. I had gained his respect and was allowed to be in his inner circle.
Kenny Moore, 1969 AAU 3 mile, photo by Jeff Johnson
From there, we’d meet up at meets, reunions, and certainly at Pre’s memorials including the night after Pre had died! Kenny had a few over to his house. Frank Shorter was staying there at that time. We had a meeting of the minds to decide who could take on the responsibility of speaking at the Hayward Field Funeral…A celebration of Pre! I had declined and Frank took on the huge responsibility and the task at hand. I actually have that speech.
So time would move on. Movies would be made! Documentaries! Books written. Kenny hanging always at the Pre classic. We would not meet up much over the last two years. Covid took over.
And yesterday I got the news of his passing.
It hit me hard! Another pillar of “The Men of Oregon” would leave us. Makes one know we are not immortal. I bow my head down in quiet tears. I am saddened!
But so glad I could gain his respect. He found in me the guy that has always carried the torch of Pre’s memory and the Oregon Running Legacy to those who I’ve taught and those that I have coached.
So, we keep those who are not here alive by sharing those stories! We keep Kenny Alive! He is one of our brothers. Never to be forgotten.