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PGN Q & Ace: Pitt Football Head Equipment Manager Derek Moos

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Tiger Woods has 20 of them. My grandpa had eight. (Showoff.)

For most of us, though, earning a hole-in-one is an achievement that’s singular, or at least not too far into the plural.

PGN recognizes this and would like to honor those of you who have experienced the joy of writing a ‘1’ on your scorecard, whether that be recent, or many years ago.

In addition to setting up a special Hole-In-One Honor Roll on our site, we’ll also be picking the brains of you sharp-shooters out there in a regular feature we’re calling the PGN Q & Ace!

Today’s subject is Pitt football’s head equipment manager Derek Moos, who got on the hole-in-one scoreboard this summer at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio. If you frequent the Ohio Turnpike, you’ll recognize it as being literally yards off the highway as you approach greater Cleveland from the west.

While playing the course with two of his former student assistants and another friend, the Michigan-born Moos aced the downhill 12th hole from 173 yards, using an 8-iron. His playing partners captured the moment every golfer dreams about …

PGN: Can you describe the shot and what you thought as it approached the hole?

Moos: I knew I had hit the shot well but didn’t think it would be right at it. I had hit a little cut, so while watching the ball work left to right, I thought I was going to miss right. The ball hit in front of the hole — we didn’t know at the time it was about 2 feet in front — bounced behind the hole and sucked back in.

PGN: What was the moment like after it went in?

Moos: I was speechless and the friends playing with me actually reacted first. I was in absolute disbelief! When it finally settled in the cup I threw my iron into the air, started screaming with the guys, and we all ended up chest bumping. After the last chest bump I fell to the ground on my back, slowly got up and had to catch my breath and keep my composure. I was shaking the entire drive down to the hole and during my walk up to get the ball out of the cup.

PGN: How did you celebrate, both during the round and after?

Moos: Between holes 12 and 13, the beverage cart was actually there so we each got a drink. I went to put my glove on before teeing off on hole 13 and ripped it from the excitement. At the 19th hole after the round, a couple of guys bought me a drink as we continued our celebration and I shared the moment with them.

PGN: You said it was your 15th round of the year, so you obviously love to play. How long have you been playing?

Moos: My Uncle Tony actually put a club in my hand at age 3 and I have been golfing ever since; I’m 30 now. Michigan always played host to great golf events, so I spent a lot of time on the course and around the game growing up. I started caddying at Dearborn (Mich.) Country Club in the sixth grade, so I know that course very well and played quite a few rounds there growing up. I played through high school and had an offer to play at Spring Arbor University, which is a small school in Michigan, but I declined and decided to focus solely on academics at Eastern Michigan University.

PGN: What do you enjoy about golf?

Moos: Golf allows me to enjoy some time away from everything and it gives me a sense of relaxation. Nothing is more satisfying then not worrying about a phone call or text and enjoying four to five hours of peace and quiet. I haven’t had the chance to keep up on my game like I wanted to, but still try to get out at least 10 times a year. One thing I’ve grown to appreciate are the different types of courses that are a short drive from here. Having moved here three years ago, I’ve been able to explore some great golf courses here in Pittsburgh, northeast Ohio and West Virginia. That’s probably the one thing I miss most about Michigan is we have so many golf courses — the fourth-most in the U.S. — so you could play 10 different courses within a 30-mile radius.

PGN: Is your golf habit a good fit for your career in sports?

Moos: The saying ‘business is done on the golf course’ is probably one of the most accurate statements out there. It’s such a unique sport that has given me the opportunity to meet some great people over the years and also provided me a chance to get a job working in the Detroit Tigers; clubhouse growing up. So to answer your question, golf is a great fit for my career in sports!

PGN: How did you end up in your position at Pitt?

Moos: I got to Pitt while I was completing my masters program at Eastern Michigan. I was studying sport management and interviewed in February of 2017, was accepted early in March, and began working here on April 3, 2017. While working here, I completed my masters courses as well. Ed Whited, who works at Pitt, was responsible for hiring me at the time and had ties to people at Eastern Michigan, because he had worked there about 20 years ago. Luckily for me, we knew the same people and I had built positive relationships with them, so I tend to think that helped me out quite a bit.

PGN: Any predictions for the upcoming Pitt football season?

Moos: We have a really solid team this season and I think that our strong finish in last year’s bowl game will translate over to this season. This team has great leadership from the senior class all the way down so I think that 2020 will prove to be very exciting for the Panthers.

Thanks to Derek for being the second subject of the PGN Q & Ace! If you have a hole-in-one story to tell, or you just want to get your name on our Honor Roll, leave a comment below or email me at matt.gajtka@gmail.com.

A 15-year veteran of sports media, Matt Gajtka (GITE-kah) is the founding editor of PGN. Matt is a lifelong golfer with a passion for all aspects of the sport, from technique to courses to competition. His experience ranges from reporting on Pittsburgh's major-league beats, to broadcasting a variety of sports, to public relations, multimedia production and social media.

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