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Montgomery man named one of Navy football’s top players of past 50 years 9 August 2011

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in News.
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By Wesley Lyle

November 11, 2009

Chet Moeller’s passion for football helped him make an im­pact at Navy in the 1970s. His performance on the field led to consensus first-team All-Ameri­ca honors during his senior sea­son in 1975.

Today, Moeller is a vice pres­ident with Wilson Price Inform­ation Technology. Though it has been more than 30 years since his playing days at Navy, Moel­ler is still recognized as one of the Midshipmen’s top defensive players.

Moeller, a Montgomery resi­dent, was recently named to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial All-Stadium team. The team is a compilation of the Midship­men’s top players during the past 50 years, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Na­vy-Marine Corps Memorial Sta­dium.

Moeller and the seven other defensive backs selected to the team were recognized during the Temple game Oct. 31.

“I’ve been telling people it’s not really that big a deal,” said Moeller, an Ohio native who has lived in Montgomery since the 1980s. “Down here, compared with Auburn and Alabama, it’s not a big deal.”

Navy football may not generate as much attention in Alabama, but don’t let Moeller’s modesty fool you. Longtime fol­lowers of the Midshipmen hold Moeller in high esteem.

Navy’s news release an­nouncing the selection to the team said Moeller is “consid­ered by many observers to be the finest player on the defen­sive side of the football to ever play at the Naval Academy.”

Bill Wagner, the Navy beat writer for The Capital, recently wrote “in the discussion of for­mer Navy football greats, two names stand above the rest.”

The Oct. 31 story said former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach is recognized as Navy’s top offensive player. Moeller is considered to be the top defensive player.

A candidate for the College Football Hall of Fame, Moeller has received praise and recom­mendations from some of col­lege football’s greats. Names ranging from Staubach and USC head coach Pete Carroll to Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and former Auburn and Miami Dolphins linebacker (and Moel­ler’s brother-in-law) Mike Kolen have touted Moeller’s accom­plishments at Navy.

In a letter recommending Moeller for the College Football Hall of Fame, Carroll called Moeller “one of the greatest safe­ties ever to play college football” and said the Trojans still teach their players “techniques based on what I learned from watching Chet play.”

Moeller said the recognition to the 50-year Navy team and the praise from others has been “humbling.”

“I guess it’s the way I was raised, but any time you’re hon­ored for an individual award, I believe you have to give credit to your teammates and coaches,” Moeller said. “George Welsh was our head coach, Lenny Fontes (brother of former NFL coach Wayne Fontes) was my position coach and Rick Lantz was the defensive coordinator.

“Those coaches, along with my teammates, I hope they know that they’re a part of this award. All of them were so in­strumental in the success we had.”

Moeller said other than the Midshipmen’s 27-24 loss to Tem­ple the day was wonderful.

“The best part was having my family there,” Moeller said. “I’ve got a great-nephew, Mike Kolen’s grandson, that is inter­ested in Navy. So we took him and (several family members) to the game.

“There was a tailgate party for us and it was nice to talk with the other recipients. It was good to see (former teammate and fellow honoree) John Sturges and meet the younger guys that were chosen.”

Moeller said the best part of his playing days was the cama­raderie with his teammates.

“We played together and we had fun together,” Moeller said. “(In 1975), we weren’t as athletic as a lot of the teams we were playing, but we pulled together and had success. We finished as the No. 3 ranked defense in the country.

“And we weren’t playing a bunch of slouches. We didn’t play Penn State that year, but we played Boston College, Geor­gia Tech, Washington and Notre Dame that year.”

The 7-4 record was Navy’s best since a 9-2 mark in 1963. In that span, Navy had posted one winning season, a 5-4-1 mark in 1967.

“You have to understand the atmosphere at the Academy when I was there,” Moeller said. “We hadn’t won since Staubach was there. My senior year, we were 7-4, with one-point losses on the road at Georgia Tech and Washington. We weren’t too far from a 9-2 season.”

Moeller said among the last­ing memories are a 7-6 upset of Penn State in 1974 and a 17-0 win over Pitt and Tony Dorsett in 1975.

“Penn State was a huge win,” Moeller said. “I remember that it rained so hard, it equalized the teams. They were running a Wing-T offense. I don’t know why, but when we played against that offense, we felt like we knew what was coming.

“Shutting out Pitt on their field was another big win. Pitt won the national championship the next year.”

After his playing days at Navy, Moeller served in the United States Marine Corps. Following his service, he tried out with the New York Giants when Ray Perkins was head coach.

Although he didn’t make the team, Moeller appreciated his chance.

Moeller said he never thought of himself as a world-class athlete, just a player who worked hard to accomplish his goals. His two main rules were to never stand still and practice as hard as he was going to play.

“My main motivation was that I loved the game of foot­ball,” Moeller said. “People in practice didn’t like it because I was going to hit them as hard as I would in a game. But I had to practice that way to play that way.

“As for standing still, I be­lieved if you stood still you had a better chance of getting hurt. I was fortunate, other than a bro­ken thumb my senior year, I never had a serious injury.”

After football and the Ma­rines, Moeller moved into the field of information technology. Part of Moeller’s motivation in football carries over today — there’s no time for standing still

“I majored in systems engi­neering and worked with the communication and computer side of things in the Marines,” Moeller said. “It’s a field that changes so quickly, you have to stay on your toes.”

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