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North Carolina State women's basketball coach Wes Moore was enjoying himself last weekend while watching the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women prepare to play in the final game of the Chattanooga Christmas Classic, but don't expect the former UTC coach to be bringing the Wolfpack into McKenzie Arena any time soon.

"I'm not crazy," Moore said. "They beat Tennessee and Stanford in here (this season), and you think I'm coming here? I mean, come on.

"Probably what I'm going to do in about six or seven years when I'm about (ready to retire), I will schedule (N.C. State) to come here as I'm going out the door."

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Former Chattanooga Mocs coach Wes Moore is now coaching women's basketball at North Carolina State.

Moore has had success since moving to Raleigh, N.C., going 25-8 in his first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference and starting this season at 9-3 heading into the Christmas break.

"We're doing pretty good. We've got a very young team and our depth is not what it needs to be right now," Moore said. "So we've got a lot of work to do this year, but we've got six kids signed for next year that we think will come in and make an impact. We're getting there, but we're having to do a little building."

Moore saw a couple of high school tournaments while he was in town in addition to seeing many UTC players he recruited who are still playing. He had a warm greeting for his former player and assistant coach Katie Burrows, who remained on the Mocs staff when Jim Foster took over as head coach.

"When I saw him he gave me a big hug," Burrows said. "I mean like an extended hug, and I was like, 'Aww, he misses me.'"

With still several of his recruits playing at UTC, Moore said he was proud of how well the 9-3 Mocs have done this season with wins over Top 10 teams Tennessee and Stanford, although he jokingly said Foster's accomplishments were taking the shine off his 358 wins in 15 seasons at UTC.

"I'm kind of mad at Coach Foster because he's making me look bad," Moore said laughing. "(UTC fans) thought I was an OK coach, and now they're thinking, 'That guy was an underachiever. We should have made this move years ago.'

"It's tough when you have a Hall of Fame coach come in here and follow you. But I'm so happy for him and the team, and I love these girls. It's exciting to see what they've been able to accomplish."

Moore was well known for his fondness for local restaurants in his time in Chattanooga, and he was telling Burrows and other friends all the places he'd eaten at in his quick trip back to the Scenic City.

"Except for (my recent) pregnancy, I lost weight when (Moore) left because we didn't have any more two-hour lunch meetings," Burrow said. "We ate at some good restaurants when he was here."

"We'd go to Nikki's and Southern Star and all these places. I mean I was putting on the pounds. It was crazy how much weight I gained."

No. 3 mid-major

The Mocs were ranked Wednesday as the No. 3 mid-major women's program in the nation by ESPN writer Graham Hays. Hays noted that two wins over Top 10 teams in one season had not been accomplished by Delaware when Elena Delle Donne played or Gonzaga with Courtney Vandersloot, nor by traditional mid-major women's powers Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marist or South Dakota State.

The ESPN piece also noted that freshman Keiana Gilbert led the win over the Lady Vols and that sophomore Chelsey Shumpert scored 18 points in the win over Stanford, meaning that the Mocs likely will remain good for years to come.

Contact Jim Tanner at jtanner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6478. Follow him at twitter.com/JFTanner.

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