Friendship between Kentucky's Moore, Hayes about more than sports

August 13, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

The first time Chuck Hayes saw Ellery Moore, he never envisioned him becoming one of his best friends at the University of Kentucky.

"I still remember the first time I saw him," said Hayes. "It was at a party downtown my first week here. I did not think he was the same age as me. I thought he was about 30. He was so big I thought he had to be pushing 30. Then I found out he was a football player and we wound up having a class together."

That started an unlikely friendship between Moore, a defensive tackle from Ohio, and Hayes, a power forward from California.

When the Kentucky basketball team plays in Rupp Arena, it's not unusual to find Moore sitting in the front row, thanks to tickets he gets from Hayes. Moore says several teammates would ask him how he got the seats, especially since they would be sitting much higher in Rupp Arena.


"They can't get them, either. That's between me and my boy, Chuck," Moore said. "Me and Chuck have been tight ever since we got here. We met each other when we first got here. Ever since then, if he was having a problem, he would call me. If I was having a problem, I would call him. We became that tight."

Hayes says he enjoys going to Commonwealth Stadium to watch Moore and other football players he knows.

"I know how these guys beat up on each other every day," Hayes said. "Football is fun. It's exciting. How can you not like watching a football game, especially with the atmosphere here?"

Still, Hayes does wonder how Moore deals with losing as often as the football team does. Hayes knows how disappointed he's been the last two years when the Cats won the Southeastern Conference championship, but then didn't make the Final Four.

"I know losing hurts him," Hayes said. "It hurts to go out there on Saturdays and not win. I feel for him. It also makes me appreciate the times my team does win and the goals we accomplish. I know he puts in the same work as I do, or maybe more, but he's not able to get the results he wants."

They avoid talking about sensitive issues on their teams

However, the two almost never discuss internal affairs on their teams with each other. Even though each understands being in the spotlight and knows the demands of major college athletics, they avoid talking about sensitive issues on their respective teams.

"Usually when we talk about things, we are upset. But it's not serious and something we can't deal with," said Moore, who was also friends with former UK basketball players Cliff Hawkins and Gerald Fitch. "Chuck might call and want to just go somewhere and I'll come right over. We know how to get away, go kick it, go see a few people.

"I don't talk to him about coach (Rich) Brooks. He doesn't talk to me about coach (Tubby) Smith. That's the basketball family or football family. We know and respect both coaches too much to discuss situations with somebody outside the family. Even though I trust Chuck completely and he trusts me, you just never know who might be standing around when we are talking. We don't want anybody else to be able to say anything bad about our coaches because of something they might overhear us saying."

Hayes said the two seldom talk about their own sports.

"We usually talk about everything else except our sports," Hayes said. "We talk about life. Lately we talk about how fast these four years have gone by. I still remember the first time I saw him. Now we are getting ready to graduate."

Both have professional aspirations. Moore hopes a big year could earn him a spot in the National Football League while Hayes has National Basketball Association aspirations.

"We both have dreams about the next level. When we get there, we are both going to continue to be friends and do things like charity work in our neighborhoods," Moore said. "His neighborhood is in California, mine is in Ohio, but we want to bring football and basketball together as one and do camps if we can. We both want to give back. If we are as successful as we hope to be, the money will be there to do that so we can give back to the community like we should."

Hayes says Moore always reminds him of their potential.

"He says, 'Chuck, there is too much money up there for us not to put our name on it,'" Hayes said.

The two try to find time to "kick back" with friends, even though that has become harder because of demands athletics and academics put on them.

"We both have a lot of stuff to take care of before we leave here," Moore said. "College life is winding down for both of us already."

However, that doesn't mean they still can't have fun with each other.

Moore is now a UK basketball fan

Moore says he was always a "North Carolina basketball fan" before he came to Kentucky.

"Going to Rupp Arena changes your heart. I've always loved basketball, but now it's Kentucky basketball," Moore said. "I used to play hoops. I have a game. I actually love both sports, but football is where my heart is."

Hayes has never seen Moore play basketball. He can imagine what type of player he would be.

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