Wes Moore will be introduced Monday as the new North Carolina State women's basketball coach. For the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the program he leaves behind after 15 years and 358 wins, life goes on.
A new coach can't be named until UTC hires a new athletic director. Interim athletic director Laura Herron said Friday that she expects a new AD to be named within the next two weeks. The new top Moc will have to hire both men's and women's basketball coaches.
"They're going as fast as they can, and I think early next week we'll hear that they've shortened their list to two or three," Herron said of the AD search committee, which is interviewing candidates this weekend.
Herron chaired the search committee when Moore was hired in 1998. It's safe to say that hiring worked out well. In his 15 seasons at UTC, Moore won 12 Southern Conference regular-season titles and nine tournament titles.
"What he did was incredible," Herron said. "When he came here, we were still playing in Maclellan Gym, the locker room was just abysmal and he turned this team around quickly. He's a great recruiter and he'll outwork everybody."
All of Moore's success, including a 29-4 record this season, makes the job attractive. All that success also means, Herron said, "the next coach is going to have huge shoes to fill."
The next coach will have a veteran team to work with, led by All-SoCon players Ashlen Dewart and Taylor Hall, two of the Lady Mocs' six rising seniors.
"The cupboard is going to be full," Moore said. "You've got a very strong nucleus of players coming back, and I really think the freshman class -- we've got one for every position -- is very talented."
Moore is taking associate head coach Nikki West and assistant coach Mike Murray with him to Raleigh. West's husband, UTC football defensive line coach Marcus West, will stay with the Mocs at least through the 2013 season, he said.
Assistant coach Katie Burrows will lead the Lady Mocs program until a new coach is named. She's a former UTC player keeping things together, just as Casey Long is a former Moc serving as the interim head coach of the men's team.
Dewart, the SoCon tournament's most outstanding player, said now is the time for the Lady Mocs' veterans to be real leaders.
"We're still going to be a great team, and the seniors -- the six of us -- have to be a big help next year and a big help with the adjustment," she said. "I'm not sure how [the search] will work, but until a new coach gets in here, we're going to have to be in charge of our own futures."
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.