As a standout lineman on the East Conemaugh football team, Moses Gray set his sights on playing at nearby University of Pittsburgh.

But when the Panthers didn’t call on the massive Iron Horses tackle, Gray found his way to Indiana University, a twist of fate that turned out to be one of the most important developments in his life.

“Conemaugh was just up the street from Pitt, so to speak,” said Gray, 69, who will be inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Pasquerilla Conference Center on July 22. “Pitt was winning at the time. I wanted to go to Pitt. When I didn’t get accepted by Pitt and I was asked by Indiana University to visit. I was happy to have a chance to play in the Big Ten.”

Gray lettered at defensive tackle in three seasons with the Hoosiers from 1958 to 1960. At 6-foot-2, 260 pounds, the big lineman was difficult to miss on the playing field, whether at defensive tackle or on special teams as a place kicker.

The Hoosiers were 5-3-1 his sophomore season and 4-4-1 during his junior year, which included wins over Nebraska and Michigan and a scoreless deadlock against Ohio State.

“The most memorable one was when we tied Ohio State 0-0 my junior year,” Gray said. “If we won that game we would have gone to the Rose Bowl. We really did score in that game. Photos showed that our halfback went off my tackle on the right side and we were both in the end zone. The official held up his fingers like it was a little bit short. We turned it over to Ohio State.”

Both the National Football League and the upstart American Football League took notice. The NFL’s New York Giants and the AFL’s New York Titans each selected Gray in their respective drafts.

Gray spent two seasons with the New York Titans (now known as the New York Jets) after graduating from IU with a degree in physical education in 1961. Sports Illustrated once named Gray and teammate Proverb Jacobs two of the best tackles in the AFL. The players were dubbed “the biblical twins” because of their names.

“I enjoyed New York. It was a great experience,” Gray said.

After football, Gray had a 30-year career with General Motors (GM) Corporation. He advanced through the ranks to various management positions, including Manager of Manufacturing Services Speedway Plants from 1983-90 and General Superintendent of Manufacturing Speedway Plants in charge of 1,400 employees. Using the principles he learned in Conemaugh and on the football field, Gray authored a mission statement founded on customer satisfaction and the belief that a full day’s pay was only warranted for a full day’s work. He retired from GM in 1992.

Gray led a $2.5 million fundraising drive to build the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center on IU’s Bloomington, Ind., campus during the 1990s.

In January 2002 the center was dedicated in honor of the first male and female African American graduates of Indiana University.

Gray and his wife, Ann, have been married 44 years and reside in Indianapolis. They have two adult children, Tamara Ann Brown and William B. Gray.

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