Moore Holds Initial Press Conference
April 27, 2010
After being introduced as the 10th head coach in East Carolina women's basketball history Monday, Wes Moore held his first press conference to address members of the media Tuesday afternoon.
"I'd like to begin by thanking Coach Holland in particular, and the rest of the search committee. Mack McCarthy, Jimmy Bass, Rosie Thompson-Smaw, Nick Floyd and all the people who were on the committee, I appreciate you giving me this unbelievable opportunity.
"To be the head women's basketball coach at East Carolina University is a great honor. To make a career out of something I love and have a passion for has been a privilege.
"From the moment I realized I wasn't going to be the overall No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, I knew I wanted to coach. I've had an opportunity to pursue that dream of coaching. Standing up here today and joining the Pirate Nation adds another unbelievable chapter to that story-book journey.
"I would like to thank a lot of people who made it possible for me to be up here. First, I'd like to thank my wife Linda. We have been together for about 30 years. She has had to put up with a lot of crazy coaching hours and some radical mood swings. This was a great opportunity to bring her back home, about an hour away from Jamesville.
"Secondly, I'd like to thank the athletic directors as well as Coach Kay Yow, who all gave me opportunities along the way.
"I especially thank my athletic director who was with me the past few years, Rick Hart. I'm sure some of you remember his dad, who spent quite a few years here at East Carolina. Rick was awesome to me and the program at Chattanooga.
"I'd also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the assistant coaches who worked an unbelievable number of hours throughout the years in game preparation, player development and recruiting in order to make us successful.
"I'm especially indebted to associate head coach Nikki Blassingame, who is with us today. I can tell you I would not have wanted to come here without her. Because of that, I especially thank her.
"I also want to thank the most important ingredient in any formula for success, the players I've had the honor of coaching. In my 23 years as a college coach, I've never hit a shot or grabbed a rebound. I have, however, had the privilege of working with some unbelievable young ladies, who have represented our program extremely well. I've always been very proud of them.
"That is what has made the past couple of days really difficult. If I would have shed a few more tears in the last 24 hours or so, we probably would have needed a boat in here today. Again, it's all about the players.
"As Coach Holland referred to, my first year at Chattanooga we won 10 games. The second year, we won 26. It wasn't that I all of a sudden got smart. We got players. I'd like to thank all those players. Because of those feelings I've had the past few days and the relationships I've had with those players, I feel like I'm a very lucky person.
"Thanks to the outstanding job Sharon [Baldwin-Tener] and her staff did here, I feel like I'm inheriting a very similar situation. I understand there will be a transition period with a new staff coming on board. Hopefully that'll pass quickly and we can get to work and move forward.
"Everyone I've talked to has assured me this is a great group of young ladies to work with. On the court, the ladies have already proven they are a very talented team with the success they have had of late. Hopefully, that great foundation has been laid. That taste of winning they have enjoyed will make them hungry to win championships and continue to try and go to the next level.
"I'd also like to encourage Pirate fans to continue to support this program and help us grow women's basketball and this fan base. When I went to Chattanooga, we started averaging 200-300 people per game. The past few seasons, we averaged around 2,000. Winning, obviously, makes a big difference. I know the fans make a big difference in the overall experience of our student-athletes.
"I promise you, this team will work extremely hard on the court. Our staff will continue to recruit young ladies who will represent East Carolina and Greenville with class. I know they will be individuals we can all be proud of.
"Finally, I'd like to thank each of you for attending today and making Linda, Nikki and I feel so welcome. I was out here a few days ago and was very impressed with how sincere and nice everyone was. I feel if you're half as friendly to recruits as you have been to me, we should never lose a recruit.
"I also appreciate Linda's parents coming over today from Jamesville. Her sister and brother-in-law, who are in the Greenville area, also came out today. I thank them being here, too. "It's a great honor to be here. Thank you very much and go Pirates."
On What He Knows About The Current East Carolina Team
"Really, to be honest, not a whole lot. I do know they won 23 games last year. There is talent here, which is a little different than any other program I've inherited. ECU only had one senior last year so we should be in pretty good shape. I'm obviously concerned about losing four seniors next year, so recruiting right now is pretty critical."
On What It Takes To Turn Around A Program
"Players are key. We've been fortunate to attract some very talented players. We've had the player-of-the-year in the conference the past four seasons. It has been a good run. Once you start winning, you're going to attract more great players. We also want good people. If you have one or two with an attitude or who are moody, they can ruin it for everybody. I'm going to try and avoid that from happening."
On Being Back Near His Wife's Home And Knowing Many ECU Coaches From Their Days At Chattanooga
"I think it does feel a little like a homecoming. Linda and I actually lived out here for a few years after we first got married. I decided I wasn't happy without coaching and went back to school to finish up. Anybody who takes a few years to get through college, I can relate. Again, it's great for Linda to be near her family, no doubt."
On The Growth Of Women's Basketball
"It's amazing. I think the WNBA has been a factor. It has helped a lot more young ladies decide this is a sport to pursue. Television coverage has also helped to give the game more exposure. The attendance and excitement around the game has grown so much. Hopefully, we can bring that excitement here."
On His Knowledge Of Conference USA
"We played UAB several years in a row at Chattanooga. We were fortunate enough to have had some success there.
"I grew up near Dallas, Texas, in the old Southwest Conference era with Houston, Rice and SMU. I'm very familiar from that standpoint, but we haven't played many of those teams recently so there will be a bit of a learning curve."
On What To Do Next
"I think I need to make some phone calls to juniors in high school. We're allowed to make a phone call in April, so we need to hurry up and get that call in now. We're also trying to solidify lists so when we go out in July we know exactly who we're looking at. I like to recruit very regionally if possible, so hopefully we can be on the phone with kids in this area."
On If He Will Recruit In Tennessee
"I'll definitely try. I know it's a little bit further away, but I have a lot of ties there with high school and AAU coaches. No doubt, we'll try to still get kid or two from there, as well as Georgia, which has been good for us."
On Telling The Players At Chattanooga He Was Leaving
"That has been tough. We actually had a team meeting Sunday night. I tried to be pretty professional and say what I needed to say. The athletic director was also present so he could talk to and address them. I tried to go though it quick and explain all the factors that went into this decision. Then, I ran upstairs to call the signees. We had five players who had signed and I wanted to let them know personally instead of letting them hear it through someone else. Really, yesterday was tough because they came by individually. I had a chance to sit down with each one and pretty much cried with each one. It was very tough."