University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach Wes Moore concluded his 15th season at the helm of the women's basketball team and led the Lady Mocs to the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles.
Moore has built a reputation not only as a top coach in the Southern Conference, but as one of the nation's best. With a 558-169 overall record, he is ranked in the Top 10 in the NCAA in winning percentage at .768. He became the first Southern Conference coach to reach the 100-win plateau and currently holds a 241-43 record in league play. He is the winningest coach in Chattanooga history with a record of 358-113 in 15 years.
The 2012-13 season saw the Lady Mocs return to the top of the Southern Conference standings after a “two-year hiatus”. UTC was 29-4 overall, matching the school record for wins set in 2003-04 and again in 2007-08. The Lady Mocs were 19-1 in league play, matching the team’s fourth best SoCon mark and put together a 19-game win streak, fourth longest in school history.
The Lady Mocs began the season with an 80-71 win over 20th-ranked Tennessee at the McKenzie Arena and as a result, garnered national attention with votes in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches polls. Chattanooga added a road win over SEC foe Alabama to its resume this season and went on to claim a thrilling one-point win over Davidson in the conference tournament finals to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time since Moore’s arrival at UTC.
Junior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) was selected the SoCon Tournament MVP and was joined on the team by classmates Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) and Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.). Dewart and Hall were each named All-Conference along with senior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) and rookie Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) was selected to the league’s All-Freshman team.
The Lady Mocs set a home-court attendance record this season averaging 2,550 fans, three times more than any other school in the Southern Conference, and ranked 50th in the nation. UTC set a home court wins record as well posting its second straight undefeated season at the Roundhouse.
Moore took just one year to orchestrate one of the greatest turnarounds in NCAA history taking UTC from the bottom of the league to the top of the SoCon and into the postseason for the first time since 1992. Moore-coached teams continued to dominate and went on to claim 11 consecutive Southern Conference titles and eight NCAA Tournament appearances in his first 12 years. Twelve times Chattanooga has recorded 20 or more wins in a season including a school-record 29 wins in the 2003-04 season.
Three times under Moore's tutelage the Lady Mocs held the nation's longest active winning streak. In the 2003-04 campaign, Chattanooga capped off a school-record 27-game win streak that began at Thanksgiving and ended with an NCAA Tournament win over Rutgers. In 2005-06, the Lady Mocs nearly matched that feat with 26 straight wins picking up victories over Auburn, UAB, Middle Tennessee and Stephen F. Austin along the way. Last season, UTC kicked off its run to the NCAA tournament with a win over Alabama before running past Weber State and Miami (Ohio) in the UTSA New Year's Classic and picking up 18 wins in the SoCon.
The Lady Mocs have made waves on the national front receiving votes in two national polls during Moore's 14 years. In the 2005-06 campaign, the Lady Mocs climbed as high as 26 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll and 30th in the AP Top 25 Poll with 26 votes.
The Lady Mocs' success captured the hearts of basketball fans in the area. Chattanooga has continually ranked among the nation's leaders in average home attendance. All of the Lady Mocs top 20 attended games came with Moore at the helm including two from the 2005-06 campaign. The largest crowd to watch the Lady Mocs was Nov. 19, 2004 when Tennessee came to town and 10,051 fans nearly filled the McKenzie Arena to capacity. That currently ranks as the 11th largest crowd to ever watch a UTC home game, men's or women's. The two NCAA Tournament games UTC hosted in 2004 averaged almost 7,000 fans each.
Since entering the competition two years ago, the Lady Mocs have won the NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge for the Southern Conference. More than 7,000 fans filled the Roundhouse to watch the Lady Mocs take on the two-time defending National Champion Lady Vols. Fans were treated to a near-upset as the Lady Mocs came within three points of defeating UTK for the first time.
Chattanooga's fans have been thrilled to witness a 12 20-win seasons by the Lady Mocs since Moore's arrival and are the only women's team in Southern Conference history to post 10 consecutive years with 20-plus wins.
Moore has been named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times since his arrival at UTC. With a winning percentage of .762, he is ranked in the Top 10 by the NCAA for winning percentage among active coaches as well as among all-time coaches with 10 or more years of coaching experience at the Division I level.
Over the last 11 years, the Lady Mocs have had seven SoCon Players of the Year, six SoCon Tournament MVP's, 25 SoCon coaches All-Conference selections and and 28 All-Tournament honorees.
Two-time SoCon Player of the Year Alex Anderson was drafted by the WNBA. She was selected 39th overall by the San Antonio Silver Stars and currently plays professional overseas. Teammate Laura Hall, an All-Conference athlete, was invited by the Connecticut Sun to participate in camp tryouts.
Moore's 50- and 100-win milestones at Chattanooga have happened faster than any other Lady Mocs coach. He reached No. 100 in just 140 games when UTC topped College of Charleston 85-75 on Feb. 3, 2003. He won No. 50 in his 75th game, a 78-60 victory over Davidson on Jan. 20, 2000. In the 2010-11 season Moore became the ninth fastest coach in NCAA history to reach the 500-win plateau.
Moore's accomplishments started by orchestrating the best turnaround in NCAA Division I women's basketball. Chattanooga's women's basketball team improved its record by 16 games in 1999-2000 over the 1998-99 season.
Moore was a unanimous choice as the 1999-2000 Southern Conference Coach of the Year after leading UTC to a 26-5 overall mark and 17-1 record in league play while guiding UTC to the school's first conference title since 1992. The 17 wins were the most by any team in school and SoCon history.
The Lady Mocs hold 11 Southern Conference records including the the top seven in number of wins, the top four for 3-pointers made in a game and the top seven for 3-pointers made in a season. The 2007-08 season is ranked third on the all-time charts.
Moore, the fourth women's basketball coach in the program's 36-year history, was named the Lady Mocs' leader on April 30, 1998, and with little preparation time before the season, guided UTC to a 10-17 record and a tie for seventh place in the conference standings.
His 1998-99 team finished sixth in the country averaging seven 3-pointers per game. The team made a then school-record 188 3-point shots. UTC finished with eight conference wins that season, the fourth most in school history.
Before taking his first Division I head-coaching job at UTC, Moore had great success owning a 200-56 record and making seven national tournament appearances in nine years as a head coach at the Division II and III levels.
Moore came to Chattanooga from Francis Marion where he guided his teams to a 69-20 overall mark in three years. In his final season, the Patriots went 30-3, advanced to the Division II Final Four and were ranked fifth in the final 1997-98 USA Today/WBCA Top 25 poll. That FMU squad also captured the Peach Belt Athletic Conference and South Atlantic Region tournament championships.
In his first year at Francis Marion, Moore took a Patriot squad that was 11-15 the season before and led it to an 18-9 record and a second-place showing during the conference regular season. He was named Peach Belt Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for his efforts. The following year (1996-97), he guided Francis Marion to a 21-8 record and another second-place finish in the Peach Belt. He also took the Patriots to their first-ever NCAA Division II national tournament appearance.
MOORE'S COACHING HONORS
The only coach in NCAA history to take three different teams to a national tournament at all three NCAA levels.
Student-athletes recruited by Moore captured two Peach Belt Athletic Conference freshman of the year honors, garnered five all-conference spots and received one player of the year award.
Prior to Francis Marion, Moore served as women's basketball assistant coach at North Carolina State for two years. During that time, the Wolfpack went 34-24 and reached the Sweet 16.
Before his two seasons at N.C. State, Moore was head coach at Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., for six years. There, he won 78 percent of his games (131-36) and took the Lady Scots to five NCAA Division III national tournaments, including the Division III Sweet 16. In his first season at Maryville, Moore took a program that was 3-47 the two previous years and tied the then-school record for wins in a single season at 15.
Moore was named the Converse/WBCA District 5 Coach of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1993. In 1993, he was one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year.
He also spent three seasons (1984-87) as a men's assistant coach at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tenn. Moore has been a motivational and instructional speaker at various coaching clinics, banquets and basketball camps and was the director of the Kay Yow Basketball Camp (N.C. State) in 1994.
Moore earned a B.S. degree in Religion from Johnson Bible College and both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physical Education from the University of Tennessee. As a point guard at Johnson Bible College, Moore helped his team to one conference championship and a sixth-place finish at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Tournament. During his playing career, he earned all-conference and all-tournament honors.
Moore is married to the former Linda Hardison.