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Alumna Puts on Sunday Best for Corey Moore

by Kiley McMichael '94

Corey Moore and Susan Hensley Susan Hensley '77 just wanted a Virginia Tech football jersey to use as a nightshirt. The search should be no more difficult than heading over to the campus bookstore. Simple-seeming at first, her search for a jersey resulted in a creative way to support the Alumni Association's scholarship program.

The Alumni Association board member didn't want any old Tech football jersey and especially not a replica. She wanted a real, field-ready, authentic version. "Virginia Tech football is my most favorite thing in the world," she says. She started her search during fall 1999. The success of the team and the closer it came to Sugar Bowl time left many merchant's shelves bare of authentic jerseys. At the end of the season, Hensley still didn't have one.

One day, her husband called to tell her that he had found a jersey in downtown Roanoke, one autographed by none other than All-American No. 56 Corey Moore. Hensley didn't waste time getting to the store. Not only did she locate a Corey Moore-autographed jersey, but she struck gold--a whole case of unsigned, authentic Virginia Tech jerseys.

Always interested in finding ways to raise money for academic scholarships, Hensley quickly formed a plan and bought the 36 available jerseys. "I figured that if I could do the leg work and get them signed by Moore, maybe chapters could use them to raise money for their scholarship funds," she says. "I just had to contact a very popular football player to see if he would help me out!" The next day, she sent Moore an e-mail message outlining her plan. She reinforced the fact that she wasn't going to sell the jerseys and wasn't out for personal gainalthough she admits she was thrilled at the thought of meeting him. To sweeten the deal, she offered a home-cooked meal at her Roanoke home. Moore wrote back a few days later and said he'd be more than happy to sign the jerseys. "I was surprised at how willing he was to go out of his way to do it," she says. The following Sunday, Moore arrived at Hensley's house, markers in hand. Hensley says that the Buffalo Bills' player really "has his head on straight. We told him he isn't anything like the kid we saw ranting in New Orleans. Corey replied that he is still paying for that incident with his mom."

After a big dinner, Moore autographed all 36 jerseys, posed for a couple of photos, and talked about the season and his future. Hensley is still in awe of the evening. "We still can't believe this soft-spoken gentleman is the big terror on the field. It was a truly memorable time."

Hensley sent the newly signed jerseys to the Alumni Association, which distributed them among chapters to raise funds for scholarships. "Having not only real jerseys, but autographed ones, was a real bonus," says Debbie Day Shelton, director for alumni relations. To date, 11 chapters have raised a total of $1,985, with the Charlotte chapter bringing in $400 for its jersey.

Hensley is happy the plan worked out so well. She hopes others go out on a limb to develop new schemes to raise scholarships funds. "As alumni, we only end up helping ourselves in the long run by supporting academics and football."

And, yes, she did keep a jersey for herself.