By Haliana Moore
American baseball coach Marvin Moore traveled to Brunei recently to assist the men’s and women’s national fastpitch softball teams prepare for the 2019 Masters International Tournament. The women’s squad made history by winning the gold medal for the first time, while the men’s team won the bronze medal and picked up an historic first victory against tournament champion, Indonesia.
“The passion that the Brunei players have for the game is awesome. I had some concerns about Sharia Law when I arrived, but I felt safer in Brunei than I do in Texas. The people are amazing and I have never felt so comfortable, so quickly while coaching overseas,” said Moore.
The native Texan, who taught baseball to impoverished Filipino kids for 15 years, enjoyed a successful six-year stint in Switzerland. An All-District infielder at Seagoville High School, the 53 year-old won four national championships in six seasons with the Therwil Flyers (1993-95) and Zurich Challengers (1998). He also transformed a woeful Swiss national baseball team into a legitimate B-Pool title contender that upset 1994 European Championship B-Pool Champion, Ukraine.
Moore accepted an invitation from Brunei Amateur Softball and Baseball Association (BASBA) Vice-President Wan Tambrin to visit Brunei to conduct hitting clinics, and coach the men’s squad at the Masters International Tournament. It was an adventure that helped the former collegiate leadoff hitter rediscover his passion for coaching.
“I have been coaching kids, exclusively, since I retired in 1998 to get married and raise a family. It’s a different dynamic to coach adults and I had a fantastic experience interacting with both teams, added Moore. “I cannot thank Wan and his wife, Sofiah, enough for such a wonderful opportunity and a memorable adventure.”
Moore, who accepted a coaching position at a Chinese baseball academy in 2017 before opting to remain in Texas, arrived in Brunei with just 11 days before the tournament began. However, he was pleasantly surprised with how quickly his new players were learning a different hitting technique.
“It was a really tough balancing act to try and correct bad fundamentals and teach a new hitting style in such a short time frame, Moore said. “Fortunately, the Brunei players were talented and had a passion for the game that made my job easier.”
Moore began his coaching career at the age of 16 as the hitting and pitching coach for his neighbor’s little league team. The following year, the local youth sports association amended its bylaws to allow Moore to become a head coach although he was not yet 18.
“One of the reasons I coach is because I love the player development process. I get great personal satisfaction watching players develop into championship-caliber athletes who are confident in their fundamentals.”
A former community newspaper editor who was a founding partner of the international baseball websites, BaseballdeWorld and Mister-Baseball, Moore is considering a return to Europe in 2020 or expanding his year-round baseball development program for youth from low-income families.