Wes Moore returning to McKenzie Arena
CHATTANOOGA (gomocs.com) - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team will host a pre-holiday family reunion and everyone is invited.
On December 21, head coach Katie Burrows will welcome back to the McKenzie Arena her former mentor when the Mocs take on North Carolina State and Wes Moore in a non-conference matchup.
"What an awesome night this will be!" Burrows said. "To be able to go head-to-head with my college coach and former boss is going to be interesting.
"I don't expect him to take it easy on us so we're going to have to bring our A-Game. I may have to take this scout, though."
In his second season at UTC, Moore orchestrated the greatest turnaround in the NCAA that season taking UTC from a 10-17 record in his first year to 26-5 the next. The Mocs received a bid to the WNIT and came away with a first-round win over Alabama at the Roundhouse.
During that season, local standout Katie Galloway (Burrows) from Lookout Valley was on Moore's radar and he convinced her to join the team beginning with the 2000-01 season.
"Like the saying goes," Moore said. "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Katie was tiny coming out of high school, but she left a mark on UTC as a player, winning four straight championships."
Burrows helped the Mocs to four consecutive Southern Conference regular season crowns and SoCon Tournament titles while advancing to the NCAA Tournament each season. She hit the most memorable shot in school history when UTC hosted the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Her throw from well beyond the arc near the bench, as the shot clock wound down, banked in and rocked the Roundhouse sparking a run that led to UTC's win over Rutgers in the first round.
Several years later, it would once again take some recruiting from Moore to get Burrows to return to her roots and join his staff. After a successful high school coaching career, she finally agreed to be on the bench for the Mocs once again.
In her eight years as an assistant, three under Moore and five with Jim Foster, she has guided Chattanooga to five more SoCon titles and seven postseason appearances.
While the times were fun and exciting for the fans, family will sometimes not see eye-to-eye.
"We butted heads a lot during our time together, always challenging each other," Burrows said. "I'd say that will be evident on Dec. 21st. The fans will certainly be entertained."
In Moore's 15 seasons at Chattanooga, the Mocs won 12 Southern Conference regular season titles and won the league tournament nine times. UTC advanced to the post season 13 times with nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
"Coach Moore is a competitor and an excellent coach," Burrows said. "He put UTC women's basketball on the map and we wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for him."
The Mocs gained a national reputation as a tough opponent and even tougher foe on their home court under his tutelage. Chattanooga earned wins over such opponents as Louisville, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Florida State. UTC came away with its first NCAA victory with a win over Rutgers at the Roundhouse and Moore capped off his 15 seasons with a thrilling and convincing win over Tennessee in front of the home crowd.
"It's not the most intelligent decision I've made in my life," Moore said about scheduling the game with his former school. "I know what a challenge it is taking a team into Chattanooga. I've seen a lot of BCS programs go in there and come out on the short end."
When asked why now, his response was that he wanted to wait until all of the players he and his staff had recruited had finished their time at Chattanooga. With the graduation of current student assistant Aryanna Gilbert last season, the Wes Moore era came to a close. It was time to return.
"I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see so many people who meant so much to Linda and me and in building the program," Moore said. "Selfishly, I couldn't pass up the chance to come home, so to speak."
All seats in McKenzie Arena will be reserved for this specific game.
Season tickets are on sale at GoMocs.com and the McKenzie Arena box office. The renewal deadline for season ticket holders to reserve their seats is August 1st. Reserved season tickets are available for $125 and general admission is $100. Purchase season tickets by July 1st to receive a 2018 season Mocs Flag, special edition tickets, be entered to win a signed basketball by the head coach, invitation to the exclusive season ticket holder event and receive a Mocs clear bag for arena use. The earlier your purchase, the more you get!