Wes Moore just completed his third season as the head coach of the NC State women’s basketball team. Moore plans to use his experience and unique coaching qualities to take the team to new heights.
Moore has completed 27 seasons as a head coach and his total record is 621-302 (.753). His teams have tallied at least 20 wins in 22 of the 27 seasons. With a record of 63-34 (.649) in three years with NC State, Moore is looking to compete at the highest level in the coming seasons.
Though Moore has only been the head coach of the team for three seasons, he has been familiar with NC State since 1993, as he served as assistant women’s basketball coach to the late and legendary Kay Yow until 1995. Coaching under Yow has helped shape the coach and man that Moore is today.
“[Kay Yow] is obviously one of the great legends of not only women’s basketball, but basketball in general,” Moore said. “The biggest thing that impressed me about coach Yow is how she always made each person feel so special. No matter your position or status, she really cared about people and took the time to listen. You’d never find a player, peer or coach that would have anything bad to say about coach Yow.”
The influences of coaches such as Yow, along with many years of experience, have helped to mold Moore into a coach with unique qualities. Character building is something that he finds to be just as important as player development. This mindset is why Moore attributes his success as a coach to the good people as well as the good players he puts around him.
“I try to surround myself with great players and great people,” Moore said. “I want to enjoy the journey. I want our players to feel like it’s the best four years of their lives. To accomplish that, you have to be around good people with good character that obviously excel at basketball as well.”
This past season, NC State finished with an overall record of 20-11 (10-6 ACC). The team swept rival UNC-Chapel Hill while also achieving solid wins over conference rivals Duke and Georgia Tech. The team’s season ended after a loss to Syracuse in the third round of the ACC tournament.
“I’m proud of this team,” Moore said. “We started out really slow and lost a game or two that we shouldn’t have. At times, it wasn’t real pretty to watch. For them to bounce back and go 10-5 after that first ACC loss [73-44 to Miami], to sweep Carolina, beat Duke and win 20 games overall, this team accomplished a lot and grew up a lot.”
Although the team notched a 20-win season that included wins over rivals and solid opponents, it didn’t earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. This was a surprise to the fans, players and even to Moore.
“I did feel like we were going to get a bid,” Moore said. “You can look at a lot of things. We finished tied for fifth in the ACC with Miami. Miami gets a five-seed, and [we] don’t even get a 10- or 11-seed. Some things are hard to understand, but at the same time, I look back and see that we had opportunities to make it even more of a no-brainer. We blew some leads in the fourth period that could have removed any doubt.”
It is no mystery who won the women’s NCAA tournament this season. Moore, as many coaches often do, took a trip to the Final Four to scout out the action.
“[UConn’s program] is unbelievable,” Moore said. “They’ve had an incredible run. They do a great job recruiting and a great job developing players and molding them into a team. Incredible accomplishment and it’s up to the rest of us to catch up. They’re fun to watch as long as you’re not on the other bench.”
While Moore hasn’t said he has immediate plans to turn NC State into the next UConn, he certainly has a ton of confidence in the team going into next season and feels that they can compete at an even higher level than last season.
“We’re excited about [next season],” Moore said. “We’ve got our top-five scorers back, some young players that got some great experience last season, and we’ve got some young kids coming in that we think will be able to make an impact. We have four rising seniors returning, and I think they’ll be hungry and have a chip on their shoulder. They’ll be ready to do some special things.”
As Moore is soon to enter his fourth season as head coach of the Pack, the chip on his shoulder as well as the chips on his players’ shoulders could become very apparent by next season’s performance. Fans should be excited for what may be in store.