Charlie Moir, who mentored players and won championships as a men’s basketball coach at both Roanoke College and Virginia Tech, has died at the age of 88.
Moir died Friday morning in his sleep at his Salem home after suffering from congestive heart failure for several years, according to his son Page Moir. Charlie Moir was hospitalized in late October before moving into hospice care last week.
Charlie Moir was inducted into the commonwealth’s sports hall of fame, as well as into the halls of fame of Roanoke College and Virginia Tech. He had 392 career wins as a college coach.
“He helped me grow into a man,” former Virginia Tech and NBA standout Dell Curry said Friday in a phone interview. “A great father figure, a great coach.
“The success I had not only at Tech but in the league all started right there with Coach.
“He treated us like we were his sons.”
Moir won a school-record 213 games at Virginia Tech from 1976-87. He guided the Hokies to four NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT bids.
He coached some of Virginia Tech’s greatest players, including Curry, Bimbo Coles, Dale Solomon and Wayne Robinson.
“It really is a tremendous loss for me because of the influence he had on my life,” Robinson said. “He really helped me to learn how to become a good decision-maker, both on the court and off.
“I’ve used a lot of the principles that he taught me as a coach in my professional career once basketball was over.”
Moir steered Roanoke College to an NCAA title in 1972, when he was named the national college division coach of the year. He was 133-44 with four NCAA appearances at Roanoke from 1967-73 before leaving to steer Tulane.
Frankie Allen, Hal Johnston and Jay Piccola were among the Roanoke standouts he coached.
“He was an inspirational father figure to a lot of us,” Allen said. “You wanted to play for him. He just brought out the best in all of us, and we laid it on the line for him and he did the same for us.”
Some of Moir’s players went on to become college head coaches themselves, including Allen, who succeeded Moir at Tech; Page Moir, who became the winningest men’s basketball coach in Roanoke College history; Tic Price; and Ron Everhart.
“He really helped me grow to be a man,” said Price, who now steers Lamar. “The way he carried himself with class and dignity kind of showed me that’s the way you should conduct yourself.
“That’s one of the reasons I got into coaching — he made it look easy. Hell, after I got into coaching, I found out it wasn’t as easy as it looked.”
Moir, who grew up in North Carolina, played basketball and baseball at Appalachian State before becoming a minor league baseball player.
He won 224 games as a high school basketball coach in Patrick County and in North Carolina. He won two state titles at what was then known as Stuart High School.
Moir then became a Tech assistant coach before getting the Roanoke College job.
He recruited Allen to Roanoke College. Allen scored 2,780 points during an illustrious career, helping the Maroons win two Mason-Dixon Conference tournaments and advance to two NCAA tournaments.
“I was just this little, believe it or not, skinny kid from Charlottesville,” Allen said. “He took a chance on me.
“I was the first black boarding student to go to Roanoke College. I didn’t have any other offers.
“He was truly a great, inspirational person. … It’s just immeasurable, what he did and how he impacted my life.”
Allen later served as Moir’s assistant at Tech. He became a head coach at four colleges.
“If there was one thing I wanted to try to emulate with him in terms of coaching was to have patience,” Allen said. “When I was an assistant coach, we were in the locker room after practice and I was kind of railing about, ‘Man this guy hasn’t picked up the offense. He should know this.’ … Finally he said, ‘Well, sometimes you have to be patient. Remember, I coached you and I was patient with you.’ ”
The year after Allen graduated from Roanoke College, Moir steered the Maroons to a national title.
The Maroons won the NCAA college division championship in 1972, back when the NCAA had only two divisions — the university division and the college division.
Roanoke went 28-4 in the 1971-72 season, including wins over Tulane and VMI.
The Maroons beat Eastern Michigan, whose team featured future NBA star George Gervin, in the NCAA semifinals. They beat Akron in the NCAA final.
“You dream about winning a national championship,” Moir said in 2013. “But I didn’t [expect] we’d do that because there were some very good teams in the college division at that time because we only had two divisions.
“I had some good teams at Tech and a really good team at Tulane, … but probably my best memories would be from the championship team in 1972.”
That team included Johnston, Piccola, Beatty Barnes, Everett Hurst and Dickie Adams.
“Next to my father, … Charlie was probably the second-most influential man in my life,” Johnston said. “You wanted to win for him as much as you did yourself and as much as you did your school. He was that kind of person. He made you want to do better.
“He didn’t raise his voice a lot at you. He never embarrassed you in front of the crowd. If he had something to say, he came to you personally. When his face turned red and his lips got real thin and he had those fiery eyes looking into your eyes, you knew you did something wrong.”
After steering Tulane, Moir took the Hokies’ reins in 1976. He had 10 winning seasons in 11 years at the helm of Tech.
“I was blessed to have some good athletes,” Moir said in 2005. “A lot of big schools were after some of the players that we were able to lure into Blacksburg.”
The Hokies captured the 1979 Metro Conference tournament with a team that included Robinson, Solomon, Price, Marshall Ashford, Les Henson and Dexter Reid. They beat Jacksonville in the first round of the 1979 NCAA Tournament, making the first of two straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Moir and that 1979 squad reunited at Tech in June for their 40th reunion.
“He demanded a lot [when he steered Tech],” Robinson said. “Our practices were super intense. We practiced harder and had more battles in the back gym than a lot of times in the games.
“He was a good strategist. … Coach allowed us to play and not become robotic. He gave us a lot of room to play within our skill set.”
Moir was the reason Curry decided to become a Hokie. Curry scored 2,389 points at Tech from 1982-86.
“Early in my career, I was passing up shots,” Curry said. “He said this in front of the entire team — ‘Dell, the only time I don’t want you to shoot is when you don’t have the ball.’ ”
Moir steered a team that included Curry, Bobby Beecher, Perry Young, Al Young and Keith Colbert to an upset of No. 1 Memphis State in 1983. Tech earned an NIT bid that year.
Those five players also helped Tech advance to the 1984 NIT semifinals in New York and the 1985 NCAA tournament.
Curry, Beecher and Colbert helped Moir’s Hokies make it back to the NCAAs in 1986.
“I respected how he challenged me on the floor, in the classroom,” Curry said. “He was an extension of my father.”
Page Moir played for his father at Tech and later joined his Tech staff.
“He genuinely loved the guys that played for him and loved the people he worked with,” Page Moir said.
Charlie Moir resigned from Tech in October 1987 after a Tech investigation into his program resulted in the school reporting 13 NCAA violations to the NCAA.
Tech bought out the final two years of his contract.
Later that month, the NCAA placed the men’s basketball program on two years of probation, finding the program guilty of nine violations, including academic impropriety and improper benefits. The NCAA did not reprimand Moir.
Moir never returned to coaching, and became a sales representative for Dillard Paper Co.
Moir and his wife, Betsy, moved back to Salem after leaving Blacksburg.
“I definitely hit the parent lottery with my mom and dad,” Page Moir said. “It was really cool to live so close to him where he could be such a good influence on my own children.
“He was a good dad, just like he was as a coach.”
Moir’s wife of 60 years died in 2014. He then lived with his son Bobby.
He is survived by his two sons, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.
Visitation will be from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday at John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Salem.