Keith Moody's talent put him in a situation that almost destroyed his athletic future and nearly kept him from becoming the first college graduate from his family. Moody, a 1986 graduate of Herndon High School, was the quarterback of the football team and point guard on the school's basketball team — and was equally talented at both positions. Moody's passion for basketball was superseded by his want to play for a major Div. I football program and when Virginia Tech came calling, Moody went.
"I was torn," said Moody, who led Herndon to Great Falls District titles in both sports during his senior year. "I didn't know if I wanted to go to a big school and play football or go to a small school and play both sports."
The decision to go to Virginia Tech was one that Moody, who would spend time after football practice in the university's gymnasium shooting hoops, wished that he could have back. "I was probably just like any other typical freshman," said Moody, who added that he was on the track to be a starter by his red-shirt year. "I went from the limelight in high school to being just another number."
Moody, who described himself as more of a throwing quarterback in high school, had his throwing style changed at Virginia Tech. "I wish I could have stuck with it," said Moody, who also allowed his grades to slip. "You make some decisions. I wasn't disciplined enough to stick with my schoolwork."
MOODY'S TROUBLE with school work landed him back in Herndon where he entered the working world. "I had parents that were constantly there for me even when I was in trouble," said Moody, who started playing junior college basketball at Hagerstown Junior College — where he helped the team into the national tournament.
The scouts were back and so was Moody. He left Hagerstown for the University of Nebraska and this time, he made the grades.
"Going to [junior college] made me more disciplined," said Moody. "My number one priority was taking care of the books. Being the first one from my family to graduate made me even more motivated."
Moody helped Nebraska to an NCAA tournament appearance as part of what many believe to be the program's greatest team. Nebraska finished ranked ninth in the country that season. But before collegiate success, Moody, who is now a business analyst with a telecommunications industry in Omaha, was tearing up the local fields in the Northern Region. Moody, a two-time all-region selection at quarterback, led the Hornets football program to an 11-1 finish as a senior after a junior year in which he led the Northern Region in passing with 1,491 yards. He threw for 12 touchdowns and completed 53 percent of his passes as Herndon finished with a 5-5 record his junior year.
"In my mind mentally, I felt like there were so many guys that were good quarterbacks in the region that were known for running," said Moody. "My forte, at 5-10, I couldn't sit down in the pocket, I had to get out on the wing."
Moody was elusive and had game-breaking ability.
"Keith's ability to avoid the rush on every single play," remembered teammate and receive Barry Johnson [#30, Greatest of All Time]. "He had to create and find his own pocket."
Moody was sacked eight times in the season-ending loss to T.C. Williams in the Northern Region finals — a game that Herndon lost 16-11 after it allowed the Titans to rush for 257 yards on 49 carries. Moody might best be remembered for what Connection columnist Frank Carulli said was showing of "great poise and performed some heroics of his own."[The Herndon Connection, Nov. 27, 1985]. Moody, dazzled the crowd of 7,800 at Woodson, and finished with 121 yards passing. He nearly orchestrated a game-winning drive, but was held short.
"He had tremendous athletic sense," said former Herndon football coach Don Noll. "He had a great touch."
MOODY'S TOUCH could also be felt on the basketball court. He helped the Hornets into the Northern Region finals after winning the Great Falls District title in his senior year. Herndon finished 24-6 that year, a year after a 15-7 finish. As a junior Moody averaged, 17.1 points per game, 3.1 assists and 2.7 steals en route to being named to the first team all-district.
"Keith is the floor leader; he makes all the decisions out there on the fastbreak and setting up the offense," said former Herndon basketball coach Todd Crowley in the Dec. 4 1985 edition of The Herndon Connection. Moody left Hagerstown Junior College and found his way on to Danny Nee's Nebraska squad in the 1990-91 season. Moody finished his college basketball career as Nebraska's sixth man with 4.7 points per game (294 career points), 184 assists and 60 steals. The Cornhuskers, who had finished 10-18 in Moody's first year with the team, jumped considerably. They took third in the Big 8 with a 26-8 record, spent fourteen straight weeks ranked in the top-25 and boasted a 14-game winning streak. He still plays basketball in three leagues year-round and lives in Omaha with his girlfriend of 12 years and their son, 2-year-old Donovan.
Keith Moody is 51 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.