The Wolfpacker

May 2013 Wolfpacker

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Shooting The Rapids New Women's Basketball Coach Wes Moore Is Excited About The Challenge Of Returning NC State To Prominence T By Brian Rapp hirty-nine years ago, then-NC State athletics director Willis Casey asked a former Wolfpack baseball player, Robert "Peanut" Doak, to coach the school's first women's basketball team. Doak led that team to an 11-4 record in the 1974‑75 season, beginning a winning tradition that his successor, Kay Yow, continued and enlarged for the next 34 years during a legendary career. Now, after 38 consecutive years of women's coaching, the Wolfpack women have returned to their roots with the hiring of Wes Moore April 5 as the fourth head basketball coach — and second male coach — in program history. "I think there's a challenge in any coaching situation," the 56-year-old native of Dallas and 1986 University of Tennessee graduate replied at his introductory press conference April 8, when asked about any difficulties in men coaching women. "You're trying to get a group of people to do what they need to do so they can accomplish what they want to accomplish, whether that be on the court or academically. "As far as the success of men coaching women's basketball — the two teams in the national championship game [Louisville and Connecticut] were led by male coaches. So yeah, I think it can be done." Moore was hired after a brief search to replace Kellie Harper, the former Volunteer AllAmerican player who was fired March  26 after NC State's 72-66 loss at James Madison in the second round of the WNIT. Harper, who was hired in March 2009 from Western Carolina after Yow lost her two-decade long battle with breast cancer, compiled a 70‑64 record from 2009-13 (including a 17-17 mark this past season), but was unable to duplicate the success of her first season in Raleigh, when she led the Pack to a 20-14 record, the championship game of the ACC Tournament and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2009‑10. NC State also lost twice as many games as it won in ACC play the last four years (16‑32), and the three-year absence from the NCAA Tournament tied the program record for the most consecutive seasons without a bid. The challenge of reversing that skid is daunting, especially considering that the ACC's expansion over the next three years will include the arrival of two programs, Louisville and Notre Dame, that were Final Four participants this year (and, in the case of the Irish, 2012 and 2011 national runners-up). But Moore is used to such challenges. In his 24-year coaching career, which began in 1987 at Maryville (Tenn.) College, he has suffered exactly one losing season en route to a 558-169 overall record, a .767 winning percentage that ranks eighth among all active NCAA Division I coaches. As head coach of the University of Ten- pearance in 1995 — three years before the Pack's lone Final Four appearance. "Some people can talk about what they hope to do," he pointed out. "Here, we've seen it — we know it can be done. That makes it a little more viable when you're trying to sell it to recruits." Moore feels the first step in revitalizing the women's program is "surrounding yourself with great people" as assistants. To that end, he brought nine-year assistant Nikki West, a former All-ACC player at Clemson, with him from Chattanooga to be associate head coach and hired former Georgia Tech assistant Gene Hill, who helped the Yellow Jackets earn four straight NCAA berths from 2009‑12, to be assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He also brought in James Madison assistant coach Lindsay Edmonds, a Winston-Salem native and Appalachian State star (2001‑05), to help recruiting efforts in North Carolina, which will be a top priority going forward. On the court, Moore's teams are known for two major assets: stifling man-to-man defense and excellent three-point shooting. "I think the most important aspect of the game is rebounding," he said. "If we can limit an opponent to one shot a possession, and if we can create second and third chances for ourselves, then even on a bad shooting night you have a chance to win." Though Moore had not seen the Pack's current players in a workout prior to the sec- "I could have stayed at Chattanooga and, using this   analogy, just floated down a lazy river in an inner tube   [with the success there]. Here, you have the chance to   get in a kayak and shoot the rapids." ■ Moore nessee-Chattanooga for the past 15 seasons, Moore led the Lady Moccasins to 12 Southern Conference regular-season crowns, nine conference tournament titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. This past season, Chattanooga tied the school record for wins in a single season (29). "I've had opportunities to coach elsewhere where the money would have been much more lucrative than where I was," Moore said in explaining his decision to leave Chattanooga for Raleigh. "But I wanted to be somewhere that I felt we could compete at the highest level of success. When you look at NC State, and when you look at the success this program has had, I know what can be accomplished here." That knowledge isn't second-hand, either. As an assistant coach with Yow from 1993‑95, Moore helped NC State to a 34‑24 overall record and an NCAA Sweet 16 ap- ond week of April, he feels there is potential to reverse three years of .500 performances. "I'm not going to come in with a lot of preconceived notions," he said. "We have a large senior class [five], and hopefully they're hungry and excited because his is their last go-round. "The other thing this year is that it's like having an all-freshman team because it's all new — you're putting in a new system that everyone has to get used to. For the players coming back, it's like having a mulligan in golf — you have a chance to change your status." "He's definitely all about business," senior point guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman In 24 seasons as a head coach, Moore has complied a 558-169 overall record for a .767 winning percentage that ranks eighth among all active NCAA Division I coaches. photo courtesy nc state media relations 52  ■  the wolfpacker 52-54.Wes Moore.indd 52 4/30/13 2:34 PM

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