Bruce Springsteen called them “Glory Days” and while to some they might be, Mike Moreno’s time as a high school football star was much more than a fond memory, it was a life lesson.
“Football definitely instilled that work ethic and that sacrifice that is needed to be successful in any endeavor,” Moreno said.
Following four years with ASU, Moreno played some minor league baseball then honorably joined the military at the age of 30. “I always wanted to join the Army,” Moreno said. “It was never the right time in life. I was chasing playing dreams and then coaching dreams … there was a lull there where I said ‘I got to do it, it’s now or never,’ so I enlisted.”
He served five years with the Army where he was deployed to Afghanistan and Kosovo. Throughout his time with the Army, Moreno found that the values instilled from athletics, football specifically, gave him a natural edge in the military.
“The Army was not difficult for me physically or mentally, it’s just like doing two-a-days in football,” Moreno said. “All those things you learn about teamwork, sacrifice and pushing your body to the limit … it’s the same thing in the military.”
Moreno relates being a father and being the leader of a team to the high-pressure moments that he encountered in the military. “They believe in you like your family believes in you,” Moreno said. “That’s the only thing I can equate it to looking back at the gravity of the situation and the immense responsibility a quarterback has for that team.”
The lessons Moreno has learned are currently being passed down to the young athletes at Queen Creek High School where Moreno coaches varsity baseball. He lead his team to a 24-5 season where they ranked 11th in the state of Arizona.
Moreno strives to leave a similar impact on his athletes like the one that his coaches, teachers and principle left on him.
“Without high school sports, I would not be the person I am today. It really had a huge impact on me,” Moreno said.
Moreno proves that lessons learned on the gridiron and in the classroom have an everlasting impact on an individual’s life. From days of stardom at Mesa High, to an impressive .345 career batting average at ASU, Moreno has embraced every lesson and took them with him into the Army where he humbly defended our country.
“Every young man and women should entertain the thought of at least doing a few years of service,” Moreno said. “It really is a blessing.”