Mousa on the Move

Age: 64

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Atlanta, Georgia

Occupation: Former president of Piping and Equipment Co. and USFlow; currently senior manager of Eastern Industrial

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Family: Wife, Leonna, and daughter, Ana, living in Atlanta; son, Adam, and wife, Meagan, grandson, Carter, and granddaughter, Paisley, living in Savannah, Georgia; mother, Betty, sister, Jane, and husband, Myron Owens, and brother, Dan Mousa, and wife, Anna, all living in Seymour; late father, Roger

High school and graduating year: Seymour High School, 1970

Sports: Basketball, six years; football, six years; baseball, two years

Athletics accomplishments: In basketball: Most valuable player award junior and senior years, All-South Central Conference team sophomore, junior and senior years; third runner-up to Indiana Mr. Basketball senior year; and Indiana All-Star team senior year. In football: Team co-captain senior year. Outstanding senior boy award senior year.

College: University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.

Sport in college: Basketball

Major: Journalism/marketing

Athletics accomplishment in college: Academic award winner for the basketball team junior and senior years

»Who or what got you into sports?

“I was very tall for my age in grade school. Basketball being a huge part of Indiana culture, it was obvious I would play basketball due to my height. I had wonderful coaches from the fifth grade on who supported and taught me the sport. Coach Barney Scott was a major influence during my basketball career.”

»What are your favorite memories of high school sports?

“My senior year, we went undefeated during the regular season and won 25 games in a row before losing in the semistate. It was a magic year for the players, coaches, students and the community of Seymour. We were ranked No. 1 or 2 in the state for most of the season. Seeing my mom and dad, papaw, aunts and uncles and my younger brother and sister in the stands for every game and the pleasure they got from watching me and our team succeed was my favorite memory. My mamaw listened to every game on the radio, as she was not able to go to the games. The entire community supported us. The atmosphere during that season was very much like the movie ‘Hoosiers.’ My teammates and coaches were special and obviously very good basketball players and coaches.

“Being selected as Seymour’s first Indiana All-Star was special. I owe that honor to my teammates, coaches and family. I was injured for the second game against Kentucky in Indianapolis’ Butler Fieldhouse. With both of our big men out of the game, I was the last man standing and entered the game with a little over five minutes left. I scored 16 points to help us win. We won both games that year. Twenty-five years later, I was selected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team.”

»What was your biggest accomplishment and why?

“My biggest accomplishment was making my family and coaches proud of me and the lifelong friendships I developed with my teammates. I tried to be a leader and earn my teammates’ respect, and that helped me long after graduating from college.”

»Why did you choose to continue with a sport in college?

“I was recruited by several colleges and went to University of South Carolina on a basketball scholarship. They were ranked in the top five in the country, and I got the opportunity to play with seven players who played in the NBA. When asked why I did not play in the NBA, my response was only one thing held me back — talent. I knew that my reward from playing in college would be an education, and I was the academic award winner my junior and senior years.”

»What did you get out of that experience?

“Playing with the talent that was on the USC basketball team, I learned how to accept my role and do whatever I could to contribute to our success. This helped me in what is now 42 years in the business world.”

»Are you still involved in sports today?

“I played on a semipro basketball team and local basketball leagues with many ex-college and pro basketball players. My last playing days were with my church basketball team in my early 50s. Today, I play golf with my buddies and try not to hurt anyone with my errant shots. For years, I ran a basketball camp for my church, and it was rewarding to share not only what I knew about basketball but also my faith.”

»Are your children involved in sports?

“My son, Adam, is 30 years old. He played all sports during high school. I coached many of his teams growing up. His sport was football, and he started on offense and defense on a good Class 5A football team his senior year. Adam was a good basketball player, and I tell many people that even though I was third runner-up to Mr. Basketball in Indiana that my son was probably as talented I was in the sport. The sport has gone up a few notches since I played, so I was blessed to play when I did. My daughter, Ana, did not get too involved in sports but is tremendously talented in her art and creativity. She is currently attending an art and advertising school in Atlanta.

»How did sports affect your life?

“In many ways. I met most of my friends of almost 40 years in Atlanta playing on basketball and softball teams. I learned the importance of teamwork, learning from your coaches and later on business partners and how to benefit from both winning and losing. Sports created lifelong good memories for not only me but my family and allowed me to get a college education. Sports taught me how to be competitive in the right way and to respect your coaches, teammates and competitors.”

»Do you have any advice for kids about getting involved in sports?

“Do not base your success in sports on your point or batting average but in how much fun you have and the friendships and memories you make. You always want to be the best you can be, so don’t waste your time or your coaches’ time if you are not willing to listen, learn and work at your sport. If you are fortunate enough to earn a sports scholarship to college, take advantage of it preparing yourself for life outside of sports. God has a plan for all of us, and yours may not be sports. My dad was not a great athlete, but he was great man, and he and my mom and siblings were an inspiration to me to play sports.”

»Do you have any hobbies?

“Spending time with my grandkids and God willing being able to teach and watch them play sports with my wife of 36 years.”

»Do you have any favorite sports teams?

“Whoever I pick in my sports pools against my buddies.”

»Do you have a favorite athlete?

“Any athlete who knows how blessed they are and appreciates their influence on kids who watch and adore them.”