Jim Moran Sr. was born in South Boston on September 27, 1912 and attended Boston College High School. He played college football as a lineman at the Holy Cross from 1931-1934, earning All East and All American honors. He went on to play football professionally, as a guard with the Boston Redskins in 1935 and 1936.

Jim entered the Navy during  World War II, and was the head football coach at the University of South Carolina for the 1943 season.

Later, he was head coach at  Niagara University from 1946 to 1948. He resigned from his post at Niagara in February 1949, to become line coach at his alma mater, Holy Cross.

After his football career, he worked as a sales representative and a probation officer.

Jim Moran was inducted into the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982, and passed away on August 18, 1983, at age 70, in Natick, Mass.