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Catawba Mourns Passing of Coach Sam Moir

October 22, 2018

Category: Alumni, Athletics, Faculty, Sport & Health Sciences, Staff

SamMoir_small.jpgLegendary and beloved Catawba College Basketball Coach Sam Moir died October 20, 2018 at the V.A. Medical Center in Salisbury.  He was 94.

Moir, a member of eight halls of fame, coached almost 1,000 games at Catawba during 34 seasons between 1960 and 1994 with a record of 546-399.  Under his leadership, Catawba won seven championships, including NAIA District titles in 1982 and 1983. Both of those winning teams made it to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City where the 1983’s team 29-4 record remains the best in Catawba’s school history.

It was thanks in large measure to Moir’s leadership and influence that the Abernethy Physical Education Center and its Goodman Gym were constructed and opened on campus in 1970.

In 1971, he started a three-day Christmas Classic, a high school holiday tournament for Rowan and Davie counties’ boys and girls’ teams. That crowd-drawing event was renamed in his honor in 1996, and remains an anticipated holiday staple in the local community.

The basketball court at Goodman Gym was named in Moir’s honor after his retirement, as is the Catawba men’s basketball most valuable player award, given annually to the team’s top player.

SamMoirTeam_small.jpgMoir, who worked at Catawba for 34 years, received many accolades throughout his life.  He is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the halls of fame for Catawba College, the NAIA, South Atlantic Conference, Salisbury-Rowan County, Oak Ridge Academy, Mt. Airy and Surry County, N.C. He was honored by Appalachian State University with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Catawba honored him with its Trustee Award in 1986, and a scholarship was established in his honor at Catawba in 1997.

But despite the tributes and honors that Moir received, he was proudest of his former players and the lives and careers they pursued after college.

A native of Francisco, near Mt. Airy, N.C., Moir was born Sept. 13, 1924. His college career was interrupted by 30 months of military service in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He was awarded an Air Medal and a Purple Heart for his service in the Pacific campaign. When he returned from the war, he graduated from Appalachian State University with his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and master’s degree in 1950. He also played basketball and baseball for Appalachian during his time there.

Before coming to Catawba in 1960, Moir enjoyed a 10-year coaching career at Mt. Airy High School. His basketball coaching record there was 179-74, including a state championship and a perfect 25-0 record during his last season in 1960.

Moir was predeceased by wife, Betty, who died in 2001. He is survived by sons Mike and Ron.

A Service of Celebration will be held Saturday, October 27, 2018 at Omwake-Dearborn Chapel at Catawba College at 3:00 PM with Dr. Rev. Kenneth Lance officiating. A private burial will follow the service with military rites conducted. 

Memorials may be made to Moir Endowed Scholarship, Catawba College, 2300 W. Innes Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 or First Baptist Church of Salisbury, 223 North Fulton Street, Salisbury, NC 28144. Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Moir family. Online condolences may be made at

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