In 2015, Cody Moore undertook the task of building up the youngest program in the state when he was hired as the first-ever head football coach at Denton Braswell.
Five years later, Moore is taking the reins of one of the state’s oldest high school football programs.
On Tuesday, Plano ISD approved the hiring of Moore as the next head football coach and athletic coordinator at Plano Senior.
“The job speaks for itself with the history and tradition that comes with it," Moore said. "Just being a small part of it is exciting to me and being at a place with the history and tradition that Plano Senior High has with all the great players and coaches that have come through. Being able to do the same thing that guys like coach (Tom) Kimbrough have done, it's such a tradition-rich program."
Kimbrough was one of many in attendance during Tuesday’s school board meeting, with various Plano football players and fans of the program also making the drive to the PISD Administrative Center to meet just the fifth head coach in the Wildcats’ storied history.
Moore comes to Plano fresh off a five-year tenure molding upstart Braswell into a playoff program. Named the Bengals’ first-ever head coach in 2015, Moore led the Bengals to one of the area's more impressive turnaround campaigns in 2019, upping their record from 3-7 to 9-3 – complete with a share of the District 7-5A Division II championship and a trip to the area round of the postseason.
“It’s irreplaceable. Starting that program from scratch five years ago — we’ve only been open four years but I got hired a year early,” Moore said. “Those experiences are some that I’ll take with me for the rest of my career and they’re going to benefit me with this job. I love the people there and I love the kids there.”
Moore’s time at Braswell contributes to 15 years of coaching experience as he makes the transition to Plano, including previous stops at Rockwall, Mesquite Horn and Royse City. Within those gigs, Moore brings a decorated resume on the offensive side of the ball, named offensive coordinator at all three schools before undertaking his first-ever head coaching job at Braswell.
In 2014, Moore oversaw a record-setting year at Rockwall — complete with the state’s highest-scoring offense at the Class 6A level and a group that shattered statistical records within its program. Behind running back Chris Warren, the Yellow Jackets scored 52.8 points and averaged 548.7 yards per game that season.
Moore carried that success over to Braswell, molding the Bengals into one of the area’s more explosive offenses. Last season, Braswell was one of just four area teams at the 5A level to exceed 500 yards per game, checking in at 502.2, in addition to averaging 44.8 points scored.
He hopes to bring that same firepower to what has been one of the area’s more run-heavy offenses over the years.
“We’re going to be aggressive, exciting to watch and we’re going to try to score a lot of points,” Moore said. “… We’re going to still run the ball. It just looks a little different these days than it did in the past.
“We’re going to run the ball, be explosive and be exciting to watch.”
The Wildcats did depart from their run-centric ways in 2019, running the ball just 53% of the time versus 66% in 2018 — producing one of their more explosive aerial attacks in years. Junior quarterback Oliver Towns (1,879 yards, 23 touchdowns) and junior running back Tylan Hines (1,082 rushing yards, 9.7 yards per carry, 13 total touchdowns) are among the key returners from that unit, in addition to numerous starters back on the offensive line.
"He brings so much experience from being a coordinator under coach (Rodney) Webb over at Rockwall and other places where he's been very successful, but he also did an amazing job producing in Braswell – starting that program and taking it to where it is today," said Jeff Smith, PISD athletic director. "But more than his experience, coach Moore is a great leader and a great man. We're excited for Plano Senior High and for him to be the leader at that campus in the athletic department."
Moore takes over a Plano program that posted a 5-5 record last season and, for the second straight year, fell one win short of a playoff berth out of 9-6A.
Following the 2019 season, which culminated in the first time in 30 years where all three PISD football programs missed the playoffs, longtime athletic director Gerald Brence retired in December — succeeded by Smith in Feb. 4.
Just eight days after Smith’s hiring, PISD announced that Jaydon McCullough, who had coached the Wildcats since 2008, would be reassigned within the school district. Smith and PISD moved quickly on filling the void at the top of one of the state’s legacy football programs.
“We want someone that is passionate about young people and educational athletics and just teaching kids to be great not just at their sport but also just being great young people,” Smith said. “That’s really important to us and coach Moore. He’s big into coaching great character and coaching the game at a high level. He’s the whole package.”
Moore noted Tuesday that while he hadn’t received word on the process for hiring his coaching staff, he plans to get into that matter quickly. As he now begins to assemble a staff, Moore will lead the Wildcats into brand-new pastures in 2020, joining Lewisville ISD, Coppell, Plano East and Plano West in 6-6A.
“We just want to do the best we can everyday,” Moore said. “I really do feel like developing the character of our kids and getting them to understand the value of hard work each and everyday is crucial.
“I think great things are going to happen. My expectations are high and I’m excited to get started.”