Chuck Moser symbolized what’s right about Texas High School Football. He compiled a 141-28-2 record as a high school coach in Missouri and Texas, winding up with a 78-7-2 mark during his seven year reign at Abilene High School from 1953-1959. His Abilene teams won three straight 4A state championships from 1954-1956 and six straight district championships from 1954-1959. He made national headlines when the Eagles’ 49 game winning streak set a national record in 1957.
Moser was born on September 9, 1918 at Chillicothe, Missouri, he played football, basketball and baseball there, became an all-conference center on Don Faurot’s University of Missouri Tiger team that went to the Sugar Bowl in 1939 and began his coaching career in Lexington, Missouri. After one year, he joined the Army Air Corps. He became a navigator at Kelly Air Base in San Antonio, Texas where he met his future wife Doris who was a student at the University of Texas. They married on October 25, 1942, while stationed at Hondo, Texas. They had two daughters, Janie and Glenn. After World War II he coached at McAllen, Texas from 1946-1952, and compiled a seven-year record of 55-20-0.
After the retirement of legendary Abilene coach P.E. “Pete” Shotwell, Moser was hired by the Abilene School Board in the spring of 1953. Before his first state championship season in August, 1954 two starters from his 1953 team went to California when two-a-days began the week before school started. The integrity of his Abilene program was on the line. Moser told the team that it was up to the players to decide if the two absentee players could rejoin them. Then he said, “But I vote No.” He left the room while the players agreed with their coach.
Moser made the Abilene Eagles the most feared and most respected team in the state during his seven year stint as head coach. He produced 15 all-staters like David Parks (1959) who went on to be the No. 1 NFL draft pick when he graduated from Texas Tech. James Welch (1955) was a longtime defensive star at Baltimore and special teams captain. Moser’s 1956 team produced six sophomore starters who would go on to play at major universities. Moser also supported other sports. The Eagles won state baseball and track championships while he was football coach and the basketball team lost in regionals in 1957 to eventual state champion Pampa. Glynn Gregory, his most heralded player, was all-district in three sports and all-state in two, including two years in football.
From 1954 to 1957 the Eagles also put together a national record 49 game winning streak playing in the state’s highest classification (4A) in arguably one of the state’s toughest districts – 5-AAAA which was also known as the “Little Southwest Conference”. Abilene’s historic run was ended by Highland Park in the 1957 state semifinal game when the game was tied at 20 and the Scots advanced on penetrations (5 to 3).
Moser’s skill as a motivator, psychologist and innovator were as essential as his football knowledge. He was known for his thorough planning, detailed pre-game practice schedule and was a master of surprise. Scouting paved the way in 1955 for perhaps the most perfectly played first half (offensively and defensively) in school history, as Abilene won its second straight state title upsetting Tyler 33-13. Abilene shut out the heralded Tyler quarterback, Charles Milstead and led 33-0 at the half.
In winning Abilene’s 49th straight game in Amarillo in 1957 against a team that many coaches at the time said was the best in Texas schoolboy history, he found four areas that might slow down the Sandies. Even then it took a fourth quarter fourth down fake punt at midfield to nail down the victory. One of his innovations was the MUD defense. The pros picked it up a decade later and called it the safety blitz. It was the only way he could slow the beautifully executed quarterback option attack by Amarillo’s fleet backs. Though the Amarillo game was played on a dry field, he labeled the defense MUD because he said a sane person would never take the chance except on a muddy field when the other team was unlikely or unable to pass.
Moser set an example for his players. He was president of the Abilene Kiwanis Club, headed a division of the United Way, was president of the Boy Scout Council and chairman of the board at his church. He taught the seventh grade boys Sunday School class, even when the Eagles played on Sunday.
Moser brought much more than winning to Abilene. Time magazine asked its regional correspondent to do a story about Moser’s record, emphasizing the win-at-all costs philosophy it believed to be inherent in Texas high schools. When the writer responded that Moser stressed academics, class attendance and citizenship, Time decided the story lacked reader interest.
Moser retired from coaching to become the Athletic Director of Abilene public schools in 1960. He came out of retirement to work for Texas A&M Coach Emory Bellard as a backfield coach and then worked briefly as a scout for Bum Phillips and the Houston Oilers.
Moser passed away in Bryan, Texas in May 1995 at the age of 76.
Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor - 1968
Texas High School Football Hall of Fame – 1985
Texas Sports Hall of Fame – 1986
National High School Sports Hall of Fame - 1992
Dallas Morning News named Moser’s Eagles the “Team of the Century” – 1999