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Longtime USF professor in coma

Jack B. Moore, a retired University of South Florida professor who helped create the school's American Studies department, is in a coma in a New York hospital after having a heart attack.

Moore, whose career at USF spanned more than 40 years, had a heart attack Saturday. His brain has suffered from a severe lack of oxygen and doctors at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan were testing for brain damage this week. As of Wednesday afternoon, Moore remained in cardiac intensive care, listed in guarded condition.

Moore, 69, had gone to New York to visit his daughter. Family members, including his wife, Judy, were at his bedside Wednesday.

Steve Rubin, an associate dean at Adelphi College in New York, learned what had happened to his longtime friend, and has sent e-mail messages to former colleagues and others who know Moore. Rubin was previously head of USF's English department.

Rubin had just returned from the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan where he had visited with Moore and his wife, Judy. He described the situation as "very bad."

Rubin's e-mail said Moore has suffered what doctors termed a "cardiac episode" on Saturday.

"Doctors say the longer (the coma) lasts, the slimmer his chances of coming out of it," the e-mail read.

Moore began teaching at USF in 1962 and retired last year. He is considered an expert in American literature, African-American studies and pop culture. He has written books about black historian W.E.B. DuBois, baseball great Joe DiMaggio and the Burgert brothers, Tampa-area photographers whose work charts local history. In 1993, Moore wrote Skinheads Shaved for Battle: A Cultural History of American Skinheads.