Warren Moon

Warren Moon

West Los Angeles College helped mold Warren Moon into a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback.

Coming out of high school, Moon was recruited by USC, Arizona and others that questioned his quarterbacking abilities and wanted him to switch positions. Moon refused and enrolled at West Los Angeles College near his home instead. After two-record setting seasons, Moon transferred to the University of Washington and led the Huskies to a 1978 Rose Bowl upset of the favored Michigan Wolverines.

“My tenure and experience at West LA College really prepared me to compete educationally and further me academically at a major university,” Moon said. “It athletically helped develop me into a Hall of Fame career.”

The doubters weren’t convinced. Prior to the 1978 NFL Draft, some NFL scouts suggested that since he had played in a rollout rather than a drop-back passing offense, Moon would be a mid-round pick. Others speculated that because only one African-American quarterback, James Harris, had achieved any measurable success in the NFL, Moon would have to play some other position. Moon remained confident of his abilities and opted to sign with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He went on to lead the Eskimos to an unprecedented five consecutive Grey Cup victories.

Eventually, Moon returned to the United States to play for the Houston Oilers in 1984. He racked up nearly 50,000 passing yards in 17 NFL seasons and set a club record with 3,338 yards passing in his first year with the Houston, a mark he would break four more times. Moon, who later played with Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City, retired in 2001 at the age of 44.

Despite spending his first six professional seasons in the CFL, Moon ranked third all-time in NFL passing yardage and fourth in touchdown passes thrown at the time of his retirement.

He was the first black quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.