WVU Hall of Fame Election Culmination of Success for Dan Mozes
By Kevin Kinder
Without a doubt, Dan Mozes has been successful. An All-American and the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s outstanding center in 2006, he was a high-level achiever during his Mountaineer career. Building on those achievements, and on the relationships he forged at WVU, Mozes is now the vice president and national director of training for Barwis Methods, the strength, conditioning, nutrition and rehabilitation empire founded by former WVU Strength and Conditioning Director Mike Barwis.
That’s a very short summation, and doesn’t begin to fully describe the success Mozes has enjoyed. However, there’s one honor that was just awarded to him that holds more impact that any of the others.
“The Riminigton Trophy was important, but getting chosen for the WVU Sports Hall of Fame was number one for me,” the enthusiastic Mozes told BlueGoldNews.com. “It’s just a blessing for me, and I’ve been lucky and privileged, and to get this is just great. I was going along and I forget about it, and then it comes back up. It kind of struck me again when Grant Wiley won it, and I have to admit I have been hoping that I would get it.”
Mozes, like most linemen, understands that notoriety for linemen often depends on skill position players around them. He was teamed with some of WVU’s best, including Pat White and Steve Slaton, but to say that his election to the Hall of Fame was in any way dependent on them would not be true. He was the best offensive lineman in the nation in his senior season, and among his hundreds of big blocks was an unbelievable snapback hit in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia that freed White for a first down run on third and long while backed up against the WVU goal line.
On the play, Mozes was heading to his left, but identified a Bulldog rusher heading into a gap to his right. Mozes somehow arrested his momentum, bent over backwards and to his right to block the rusher. White scampered free for a first down, allowing the Mountaineers to keep the ball and avoiding a punt from their own end zone.
Such plays were staples of Mozes’ hard working career. He recalls early morning sessions with offensive line coach Rick Trickett (think 4:00 a.m.) in which he learned his craft, identified areas to work on, and became a technician that paired the mental and physical aspects of the game to maximum effect.
“I have always had that hard work ethic,” Mozes said. “Mike Barwis saw that, and working with Coach Trickett he knew it too. He showed me what it takes to be successful, and he is another of the people at West Virginia that were critical to me and my success. He worked you hard, but he knew how to get it out of you.”
There’s a third, and somewhat surprising, person at WVU that Mozes singled out — former sports information director Shelly Poe.
“Shelly was great in teaching me how to communicate, and how to highlight positives and turn negatives into positives,” Mozes said. “I still talk with her, and she was just great in working with us and teaching us how to handle ourselves and deal with public speaking.”
With that trio’s support, Mozes moved on to a shot at a pro career. A knee injury early in his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings ended that path, but Mozes displayed a Hall of Fame attitude about it.
“I wanted to play in the NFL, but you know that for most people it’s not a reality,” he said. “After I got hurt, I went into strength training and rehabilitation with Mike Barwis, and that has been just great. There’s no one like him, and I love to do this. We work with everyone from pro players (some 70 NFL and NHL players alone) as well as people just trying to get back on their feet and recover from injuries.
“It’s kind of like playing football,” he continued. “You want to get everyone in a flow, and find out what motivates everyone, and keep them all working and improving. It’s just great for me, and it all grew out of the success I had at West Virginia.”
Mozes will be on hand for his induction ceremonies on Saturday, Sept. 16, prior to the West Virginia-Delaware State football game.
“I didn’t get back to a game last year, but the ceremony this year is around my birthday, so I will definitely be there,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”