When the Quick Lane Bowl searched for an ambassador to promote its annual event, it didn’t take long the find the perfect candidate.
A Detroit-based bowl game with an ACC tie-in looked no further than a legendary ACC wide receiver who made a name for himself as professional in the Motor City: Former Detroit Lions All-Pro wide receiver Herman Moore.
Moore, an alum of the University of Virginia, currently fulfills the Game Ambassador position for the Quick Lane Bowl. While teaming up with Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center — an automobile maintenance and repair center based in Detroit — Moore assists in shaping the lives of others every year at the game.
Moore and Quick Lane support veterans and first responders through a unique scholarship program, “Trading One Uniform for Another.” This program allows three veterans to receive scholarships toward earning a certification in automotive maintenance and repair, recognized at halftime of the Quick Lane Bowl each season.
Additionally, the veteran-centric scholarship program is one close to Moore’s heart. He comes from a large military background, having his father, two uncles, his grandfather, and two cousins serve in the United States Army.
“I’ve been a long time supporter of our military and being that my family has deep roots there, just to give back in goodwill has been a blessing to be a part of,” Moore said.
One of the winners of this year’s scholarship hails from Eastern Michigan, a participating team in this year’s Quick Lane Bowl matchup. Kory Hogan, a student of the University, is an Air Force veteran planning to work in the field of automotive technologies. In recent seasons, the number of bowl games has augmented, resulting in more programs like “Trading One Uniform for Another” that shape the lives of people like Hogan.
When Moore played his final collegiate down at Virginia in 1990, roughly half the amount of bowl games were in existence and no bowl game transpired in the city of Detroit. But as a retired player, he holds great appreciation for the annual showcase and all of the behind-the-scenes events that come with it.
“It’s a big part of the year. You start thinking about the holidays and having those festivities that bring in the young men from different schools,” Moore said. “To have postseason play in a city that continues to thrive, it’s a good experience. I like the fact they’ve included the kids coming in for the bowl games as part of charity, working with Gleaners (food bank in Michigan). That’s a big part that gets missed sometimes when we look at bowl games. These young athletes really enjoy the experience and participating in that.”
In addition to assisting veterans and first responders with career-influencing scholarships and volunteering at the food bank with the athletes, Moore also earns an annual opportunity to speak to both football teams in a mentorship role at The Henry Ford Museum, along with other executives who have succeeded in a variety of fields.
While Moore holds the Quick Lane Bowl’s community events in high regard, he also has an eye on this year’s matchup. The former Detroit Lions star is familiar with the relatively-local Eastern Michigan squad, yet he also pays close attention to Pittsburgh as an alma mater of a fellow ACC team.
“(Eastern Michigan has) put together some pretty good wins. Having a victory over a Big Ten school was another notch for them. Pitt, everyone knows that they’re scrappy. They really changed and built up their defense. I think it’s gonna be a really good matchup,” Moore said. “We’re encouraging everyone to come out because it’s a perfect time of the year — Christmas break, to come in and take on a game, and the environment’s always great at Ford Field.”
As a longtime Detroit resident, Moore has grown increasingly cognizant of Eastern Michigan’s recent accomplishments. After zero bowl appearances from 1988 to 2015, head coach Chris Creighton is in the midst of a third postseason appearances in his last four years with the Eagles.
“Coach (Chris) Creighton has done a really good job. It’s tough to go into any program and know it’s an uphill climb, and sometimes it’s like trying to climb uphill on ice skates. It’s a tough task, but he’s gone in, his coaching staffs have been dedicated to the young kids that are there, and they’ve gotten results. They’ve produced some really good talent in the NFL and have been able to go out and have some strong showings against these power conferences.”
Moore is keeping up with the local MACtion in Michigan, and he also has taken notice of a certain MAC alum on Sundays. When asked which current receivers remind him of 1990s Herman Moore, the four-time Pro Bowler didn’t hesitate.
“(Former Northern Illinois wide receiver Kenny) Golladay is definitely one,” Moore said. “The biggest thing is watching how he bounced back from his rookie year. He, at one point due to injury, wasn’t down on himself but was questioning if he’d be given enough opportunity or time to go out and do things he always thought that he could. When I first met him, he was a very confident young man — not in a bad way, but in one where he really truly believed he was at the place where he belonged.”
Golladay was drafted by the Lions out of NIU in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The six-foot-four wideout (same height as Moore) recently became the fourth Lions receiver to post consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons since Moore last did so from 1994-97. While Moore is impressed with Golladay’s quick development, he is optimistic that we haven’t seen the best of Golladay yet.
“Having a quarterback like [Matthew] Stafford throwing to him has helped his maturity a lot faster versus having to have a big learning curve with a younger quarterback,” Moore said. “He’s consistent in the way he catches and his ability to make big plays make him a threat. And if they start to expand his tree and his routes, that would just make him much more valuable and a tougher player to gameplan for than he is right now.”
Back at the same venue where Golladay is racking up the yards and collecting touchdown passes, Moore is writing his own gameplan prior to the launch of the Quick Lane Bowl’s festivities.
“It’s not just about the bowl game, it’s about the things like the ‘Trading One Uniform for Another’ program,” Moore said on his ambassador role. “The fact that these kids will go over and do charitable work at Gleaners, the fact they’ll continue to bond with one another and also with the other team, and also taking on other events where they’re being mentored or have an opportunity to talk to people like myself or other executives who have gone above and beyond and transcended just sports.”