Harpeth Hall remembers Pat Neblett Moran, a coach and educator for 40 years
For 40 years, Pat Neblett Moran '51 shared her spirited laugh and smile with the Harpeth Hall community. As a coach, she focused on the positive attitude and sportsmanship of her athletes. As an educator, she taught her students as much about life as she did about the fundamentals of the sports she coached.
Mrs. Moran passed away last weekend at age 90. Harpeth Hall fondly remembers her dedication, her love of her students and our school community, and her legacy of teamwork and positivity.
As a member of Ward-Belmont’s last graduating collegiate class in 1951, Ms. Moran majored in physical education. She continued her studies at Peabody College for Teachers, which is now part of Vanderbilt University, and joined Harpeth Hall in 1956 as a physical education and health teacher.
In teaching and in coaching, Mrs. Moran emphasized a student's best effort and team leadership over victories.
“I wanted my teams to be the best they could be, and that didn't always mean that they would win everything,” she once said of her coaching philosophy. “If you work and give all that you have, then you get a certain satisfaction from that. I was always looking for a leader, and many times found that she was not always going to be the best player."
Mrs. Moran enjoyed victories as much as anyone, and she always encouraged her teams to achieve at the highest level attainable for that particular team. As the coach of middle school and varsity volleyball, middle school basketball, and varsity tennis, she impressed upon her students the concepts of team-first, positive attitude, and sportsmanship. Through those guiding principles, she led the Harpeth Hall tennis teams to three state championships.
Mrs. Moran became head of the Harpeth Hall athletic department in 1981, following the retirement of her colleague and fellow Ward-Belmont alumna Miss Patty Chadwell. Around that same time, Mrs. Moran expanded her coaching to the collegiate level. Three years after Vanderbilt University established its women’s basketball program in 1977, Mrs. Moran joined the Lady Commodores staff as an assistant coach. For six seasons, she helped shape the athletics program at Vanderbilt while continuing to lead students at Harpeth Hall. She retired from Harpeth Hall in 1996 as the last remaining Ward-Belmont graduate to teach and coach at the school.
Today, Mrs. Moran's legacy is recognized with the annual Pat Moran Award chosen each year by Harpeth Hall coaches and presented to a senior athlete who participates in two or more sports and may not always be the best athlete on her team, but is someone who leads the team with a positive attitude and brings much more to a team than just her athletic ability.