Like many professions, journalism has its share of legends and heroes. Some are known as being great writers, such as H.L. Mencken, or great reporters, such as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
But few are able to simultaneously be admired from within their own ranks and have the high admiration and respect from those they wrote about. Journalism’s nature, the constant effort to speak truth to power, usually gets little reverence from those in power.
Bob “Coach” Moran was one of those few journalists who did.
Throughout his career, journalists who knew the longtime sportswriter, who died Tuesday at 55 following a 3½-year struggle with cancer, paid homage to Moran’s attention to detail, vast powers of recall and his ability to look past the obvious to see the truth of things.
But inasmuch as we at the newspaper will miss him, we know that Bob Moran’s reputation was at least as sterling, if not more so, among the people involved in the competitive sports he covered.
This universal respect has no better exemplification than in the recent naming of the most-valuable-player award in the annual football game between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona for Moran. He had covered ASU sports for the Tribune for many years after several years covering UA sports for the Arizona Daily Star.
A voracious reader, Bob Moran had an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, athletes and coaches — his nickname was indicative of the respect athletics officials had for that knowledge — and he possessed a broad smile and a positive attitude that stood out among the cynicism often observed in this profession.
He loved collegiate sports, and his occasional accounts of fictional meetings of the ASU and UA mascots depicted a gentler, more respect-tinged rivalry than exists among many real-life fans.
His dedication to his craft won him praise and pride from among colleagues and sources alike, and we are sure, from among his readers who mourn him with us.