A standing-room only crowd, including 150 current and former Reinhardt University Eagles football teammates, created a circle of love and remembrance as the Reinhardt community paid tribute Quentin Omario Moses and said their goodbyes.
Moses, 33, perished in a house fire, along with his close friend, Andria Godard, and her daughter – his goddaughter, Jasmine, on Sunday. Godard was the widow of Moses’ childhood friend, Xavier Godard who the family lost in 2007 in a drowning accident. About 800 people attended the special Celebration of Life service held Feb. 15 to honor Quentin Omario Moses, ‘Coach Q’ as he was known to many, Reinhardt University’s defensive line coach and running game coordinator.
Teammates on the Reinhardt Eagles Football Team, following a processional that included about 20 family members – his mother, sister, nieces, nephews and several godchildren, close friends, representatives of the University of Georgia Athletic Association and his fellow coaches, paid tribute to Moses as they placed white carnations in vases next to photos of Moses then took their seats front-and-center.
Tears flowed from the eyes of those in attendance and sobs could be heard among the brief moments of silence. Those sitting or standing next to each other would offer a hand to hold as a source of comfort or give a shoulder to rest a weary head. Players and friends embraced each other as they remembered the man they could always count on to shed positive light on any situation.
“Q meant a lot to our players and he meant a lot to our staff. And we will remember Coach Moses for all the positive that did,” head football coach James Miller said, fighting back tears. “We’ll remember his infectious smile and his consistent belief in second chances.”
Reinhardt President Dr. Kina S. Mallard and Athletic Director Bill Popp both addressed the parishioners with heavy hearts but with encouraging words about Moses.
President Mallard called Coach Moses a man with a big heart, an accomplished athlete and an excellent grill master. She talked about his strong faith and his love for his family, friends and players.
“I met Coach Moses in August of 2015 when I met many of you players for the first time. As the new president, I was asked to say a few words at your team meeting,” Mallard said. “Some of you will remember the verse I used that day, Psalm 61, ‘from the end of Earth,’ from Reinhardt University, ‘I call to you when my heart is overwhelmed and weak, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.’ Each player was given a rock that day. We talked about clinging to the rock who would see you through any trouble, doubt or frustration or disappointment or pain. Players, you’re going to need to cling to that rock. You are going to need to cling to your God when you don’t know what to do. As you find your heart overwhelmed and weakened with grief, it is our hurt, our grief that reminds us what a special friend Coach Quentin Moses was.”
Gathering his emotions and thoughts, Popp said, “I didn’t think it would be this hard when I got up here. Like many of us in this room, I knew Quentin Moses long before he knew me. As an avid sports fan and card collector, he was a hero on the gridiron and in my sports card collection.”
Reaching into his coat pocket, Popp pulled Quentin Moses’ cards from his collection and handed them to a young family member.
“Head Coach Danny Cronic [in attendance at the service] brought in a young man who I already knew was a great football player but now he was here to help us with this monster challenge of building our team,” Popp said. “I don’t think we knew at the time that he would make such an impact on so many lives in such a short amount of time, but we certainly could see his passion and the connections he made very quickly with each of these young men on our football team.
“His Christian values and the way he approached life with joy was infectious, and that is something we want all of our young men to catch,” he continued.
To the words of the anthem Even When He is Silent, the Reinhardt University Chamber Singers sang, “I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God when He is silent,” as 350 candles were lit from a single candle that had burned on the platform from the start of the service. Players locked arm-in-arm grieved together as the planned program concluded.
Unexpectedly, and in the most poignant moment of the service, one of Moses’ young godsons, Rodderick Jones, took to the podium, and with family surrounding him for support, said Q’s death devastated him calling the pain “unbearable.” But he pulled together strength to address the Reinhardt Eagles, telling the players how much Coach Moses loved his job and each of them.
“He loved his job at Reinhardt. He loved each and every one of his players and coaches. All he wanted you to do is be great and successful. Quentin touched many lives throughout his wonderful life, and now he gets to rest in peace.”
In honor of Coach Q, Reinhardt University has set up a scholarship in his honor. The Quentin O. Moses Endowed Scholarship will benefit student-athletes at Reinhardt University. Contributions can be made to that scholarship and mailed to the Office of Advancement, 7300 Reinhardt Circle, Waleska, Ga. 30183.
In addition, Coach Miller is honoring Moses by establishing a tradition that the best defensive lineman of the week, each week starting next football season, will wear No. 94, the number Moses wore at the University of Georgia. “That will be a great honor for our defensive linemen,” Popp said.
Moses was born Nov. 18, 1983 in Athens, Ga. He attended Cedar Shoals High School in Athens where he played football and basketball. He continued the same sports at the University of Georgia, where he played on the 2005 SEC Championship team. University of Georgia alumni attended Wednesday’s service, including DJ Shockley, who played quarterback for the Dawgs on the same team as Moses.
After his time in the NFL, playing for the Raiders, Cardinals and Dolphins, Moses joined Reinhardt University to assist the budding program.
A memorial service for Moses will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m., at Cornerstone Church in Athens. Visitation will be held Friday, Feb. 17, at Gardenview Funeral Home, from 1-7 p.m., 605 Olympic Drive, Athens. Moses’ family will greet guests from 5-7 p.m. Friday.