HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Long before country music star Kip Moore hit the airwaves and became a household name, he was strumming his guitar and belting tunes on Wallace State golf road trips or staging impromptu concerts at his Hanceville apartment.
Moore, who has recorded country chart toppers like “Something’ Bout a Truck,” “Pretty Girl” and “More Girls Like You,” arrived in Hanceville in 1997 on a basketball scholarship for then-coach Paul Brown and played point guard for one season before catching the eye of Wallace State NJCAA Hall of Fame golf coach Dan York.
Moore, 37, switched from basketball to golf during one offseason.
“Growing up, I was all about basketball and also a fanatic for music. Everything else was just a hobby. I played basketball for one year at Wallace State. One afternoon in the offseason I was hitting balls with the golf team, and coach York saw me and asked me to come and play a round with the guys. I had a strong round and he offered me a scholarship. I played golf for two years before transferring to play golf for Valdosta State,” said Moore, a member of the dean’s list while at WSCC.
Moore never left his guitar too far behind on the golf road trips, and when he transferred to Valdosta State he began performing at local clubs and restaurants.
After graduating college, Moore decided to take a spontaneous trip to Hawaii and lived there for six months, focusing solely on his music without any distractions.
“I moved out to a hut there and surfed and backpacked during the day and wrote songs at night,” Moore said.
Moore then lived on the East Coast before moving to Nashville on Jan. 1, 2004.
Moore’s debut album “Up All Night” was a massive hit when it was released in 2012, reaching platinum status. “Up All Night” produced some of Moore’s most popular songs, including the No. 1 hit “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” followed by the top five hits “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl.”
Moore released his third studio album, “Slowheart,” last September and the lead single, “More Girls Like You,” also charted as top five song. Over the past six years, Moore has been nominated by various associations as the New Artist of the Year, Breakthrough Video of the Year and Single and Music Video by a New Artist.
At Wallace State, York coached Kip Moore along with his older brother, David.
“David was a great golfer a couple of years before Kip came to campus. Kip did enough to make the team. He’s a hard-nosed guy and from the old school. At the end of the day, if Kip shot a 66 or a 76, you knew it was his best effort. That was the type of competitor he was,” York said. “Kip was also a great student, but nothing I can say compares to how outstanding of a person he is. He’s a true class act.”
Moore believes his competitive nature helped him navigate through trials he experienced among the country music scene.
“I got kicked in the teeth after I moved to Nashville. You get told ‘no’ so many times that you don’t know what ‘yes’ sounds like. You have to have super tough skin when you move to a town like that because there are so many talented people,” Moore said. “That’s where sports helped me. I’m an extreme competitor and almost treated this journey like a sport. I didn’t get a record deal until I was living here eight years, but I was always determined to outwork everybody to get my chance.”
Moore is currently touring in Australia and Canada before he returns to the United States on May 26.
No matter the attention or how bright the lights shine on Moore, he’s grateful for the backing and experiences he gained while at Wallace State.
“I can honestly say some of the fondest memories of my life were the years I was there (in Hanceville). The neat thing about the school is that everyone was so tight and close knit, from students to employees. You see the same faces every day. You took the time to hang out with each other because there weren’t a lot of places to go. It was a blast,” Moore said. “It was such a tight, core group of people, and that’s what I value about it. Everyone there is your friend.
“I think you build more special bonds at a place like Wallace State than you can at a bigger school.”
Another country music singer, Jimi Westbrook of the group Little Big Town, attended Wallace State a few years before Moore. The college is also home to three current major league pitchers and one current professional golfer.
Moore can be followed on social media @kipmooremusic and by visiting http://www.kipmoore.net/tour
To learn more about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu
Wallace State Community College
Staff Writer, Communications and Marketing
Speech Adjunct Instructor
256.352.8443 | office
256.339.2422 | mobile
Click here to submit a Marketing request.
Assistant to the President for External and Cultural Affairs
Communications | Marketing | Museum | International | Government Affairs
256.352.8118 | office
256.339.2519 | mobile