In the early 1980s fresh out of college, Greg Moe and Trevor Tipton, joined the Wabash Express semipro football team. They barreled up and down the back roads of Indiana on a statewide barnstorming tour, trekking to locales such as Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis.
Both would go on to successful tenures coaching in the Northeast Corner Conference before retiring – or at least that's what they thought. As fate would have it, they would reunite on the football field for another go-around, ending retirement in the hopes of another shot at glory, titles.
Moe resumed his coaching career at Central Noble last fall, returning to the sidelines 19 years after leaving Garrett. His offensive coordinator this season, which gets under way today with the start of official practices, is none other than Tipton, the winningest football coach in Cougar history, and former semipro teammate.
“I saw that (Moe) was in desperate need of help,” Tipton said. “He didn't have a lot of assistants, so there was a lot on Greg's plate. When he came back around, I just thought it'd be sort of neat to come back and coach with him and see what we can do.”
Moe and Tipton clashed annually from 1990 to 1997, with the Railroaders dominating the series.
“He'll be quick to tell you that we only beat him once,” Tipton said. “The ironic thing about that year was that it was his best year.”
Indeed, the Cougars did notch a 22-14 victory over Garrett at home in 1994, the same year Moe won a sectional title.
Moe continued on at Garrett until 1997, stepping down when his sons entered high school and played football. At the same time, Central Noble was entering the best run in school history.
Tipton would lead the Cougars to 57 wins in a six-year stretch from 1998-2003, including four consecutive NECC titles and the school's lone sectional championship. He would stay on until 2009, deciding that 20 seasons and 112 wins was enough.
As he explained, his passion for coaching had waned. But seeing Moe's way with the team, as well as the opportunity to run the offense, brought those feelings back.
“Everything remains to be seen, but I like what I've seen during the summer,” Tipton said. “It's certainly been fun, I like the fire that's been ignited again. It's the same enthusiasm that I had 20 years ago.”
Having Tipton to lessen the workload?
An easy decision for Moe.
“It's nice to have people that the kids relate with,” Moe said. “They love Coach Tipton. We have a great coaching staff this year that I didn't have last year.
“We have a full staff this year. It's not me doing it by myself so hopefully, unless the head coach does an awful job, we'll be OK this year.”
With Tipton's tenure at Central Noble, some may wonder whether or not he and Moe will butt heads when making decisions at critical moments. But that's already been discussed, and Tipton's more than comfortable strictly as the offensive coordinator.
“I'm sure there's going to be things where I might think one way and he might think another, but I'm still respecting that he's the head coach and I'm the assistant,” Tipton said. “I've been in those shoes, and I don't need to be there anymore.”