Norman Mosley remembered by former Talladega players
by Erich Hilkert
Dec 15, 2013 | 2398 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Norman Mosley
Norman Mosley
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Though he died in Birmingham a little more than week ago at the age of 91, Norman Mosley will forever be remembered by the men, young at the time, who played football for him at Talladega High School. The common thread that ran through conversations with his former players was that Mosley was more than just a football coach while holding that official title from 1951-61.

“Besides a good coach, he was a good person,” 1956 Talladega graduate Buddy Wesley said. “Even some of the boys that didn’t play ball, you were all in the same class. He treated everybody just alike. He helped a lot of boys go to college back then, had a lot of them go.”

Former player and 1959 Talladega graduate Wayne Johnson said Mosley, who died Friday December 6, was skilled at helping others develop unfulfilled talents.

“Coach Mosley was just such a good guy,” Johnson said. “He was a good coach. He was tough as nails, boy, I mean tough as nails. He was a small man, but he was just tough, but he was good as gold. He loved his boys and he got a lot out of them that most of the guys probably didn’t even realize that they had. Coach Mosley was just a super man.”

It was his ability to tap into his players’ talents that led so many of them to have a chance to play football at the college level.

“This is back when colleges didn’t have recruiting services, they didn’t have all the different coaches and times to go out and scout,” Alabama Sports Hall of Fame member and Talladega graduate Ronnie Baynes said. “They couldn’t text you and couldn’t email you and couldn’t call you and all that kind of stuff. They relied on the high school coach to tell them who could play and who couldn’t play. He helped so many of his guys go on to play at different places. I know Livingston was a big one, we had a lot of kids go to Memphis, we had a lot of guys go to Jacksonville State, and he kind of made it happen.”

According to former players, Mosley played football at the University of Alabama for two years, before serving in the military during World War II. He returned to finish out his career at Alabama and eventually played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Over 11 seasons as head coach at Talladega, Mosley compiled an overall record of 60-44-5. ‘Monk,’ as he was known among those close to him, came from a family that excelled at sports.

“The Mosleys went to Alabama, Monk and them did,” AHSAA Hall of Fame member and former Sylacauga coach Tom Calvin said. “I knew him pretty good. He was a really good football player and he was a good coach, too.”

Despite Alabama being his alma mater, he always tried to steer his players to a school that would be a strong personal fit for them.

“He didn’t sit down and really try to head me toward Alabama,” Wesley recalled. “He always told me he wanted me to do the best thing for me, that he’d been through that program and he knew what it was like and if I wanted to go, he’d back 100 percent. But if you went somewhere else, he’d do the same for you.”

Ronnie Baynes, who ended up playing at Auburn, admitted Mosley hoped to see him play at Alabama but still came to support him while he was at Auburn.

“I think if he had had his druthers, (Alabama)’s where I would have gone,” Baynes said. “I was kind of the different guy. I can remember playing in my first Alabama-Auburn came when I came by that dressing room, he was standing there waiting on me. He was glad to see me and told me that I’d played a good game. Alabama had won; it was my sophomore year, but he told me he was proud of me. I think his efforts to get me at Alabama helped me go to Auburn. I think Auburn showed a lot of interest.”

Former Alabama All-American and Talladega graduate Dan Kearley said Mosley helped improve his players’ chance by working them into college condition before recruiting entered the equation.

“He was a father-type figure to you,” Kearley said. “He made sure you stayed in line, stayed in shape, worked hard. If you paid your dues, good things would come to you. He helped me in getting a scholarship to the University of Alabama—myself and Tommy Tolleson; Tommy Black went to Georgia Tech; and Ronnie Baynes went to Auburn, all in the same year. He turned out some good athletes, but it was through hard work and dedication. He was a field general that made sure you did what you were supposed to in being an athlete.”

Johnson remembers Mosley as being a father-figure, too.

“One thing that sticks in my mind is my senior year in 1958-9 is that every Thursday night before our ball games he would call all his players on the phone that had a phone back then,” he said. “He demanded to talk to, like me, he wouldn’t take my mother’s word and she worked with him. My mother worked with him, but he wouldn’t take her word that I was home in bed. He had to speak to me. That was the kind of coach he was. He was just a good guy.”