The ACC’s postseason awards were announced this week and Wolfpack Nation was howling once it learned N.C. State’s Wes Moore wasn’t voted the conference’s Coach of the Year.
That honor went to Clemson head coach Amanda Butler, who led the Tigers to an 18-11 overall record and nine wins in the ACC.
When the announcement was made, Wolfpack fans took to social media, questioning how Moore was overlooked after a 25-4 record, top 25 ranking and playing the last few months of the season with a thin roster after losing four players to season-ending injuries.
N.C. State started the season on a 22-game winning streak, but played the last few weeks with just 10 available players. Moore and the Wolfpack still finished in the top four of the league, and will open tournament play on Friday against the winner of the Duke-Florida State game.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
After a morning shootaround on Thursday, Moore didn’t sound too concern about what many Wolfpack fans considered a snub.
“There are so many good coaches in this league,” Moore said, “and Amanda Butler going to Clemson, they’ve been really down the last few years and she did a great job with them.”
Clemson’s 18 wins were the most since 2002 and more than the previous five seasons combined. The Tigers came into the ACC Tournament as the No. 7 seed and will take on Virginia Tech in the second round. The turnaround Butler accomplished at Clemson was even enough to impress Moore.
“I voted for Amanda Butler,” Moore said, “so what the heck.”
Moore was named the ESPNW ACC Coach of the Year after the 2013-14 season, his first in Raleigh, after leading the Wolfpack to a 25-8 record. In 2017 he was named the ACC Coach of the Year after a 23-9 season. Moore conceded this year was one of the most challenging for him as a head coach, given the injuries that took place, but his next-man-up mentality kept the team trending in the right direction.
“In 30-some years of coaching I’ve never experienced four season-ending injuries,” Moore said. “It’s been tough. Our kids are really close so it’s been tough to see one of their friends go down. But we use the day after we take about 24 hours to mourn and I try to be understanding in practice, then that next day we go. Expectations don’t change.”
Moore being able to stay calm, throughout the highs and the lows, is what kept the team on track this year.
“I think the reason we continued to be so successful was because he was so steady,” junior guard Aislinn Konig said. “We don’t have to worry about if he’s going to get caught up in the emotions of it all and everything. He always comes out on the floor and fights for us and I think that’s a huge part of our success this season.”
There is a chance Moore won’t be completely overlook this year. Last month it was announced that he was one of 15 candidates for the 2019 Naismith Coach of the Year Award, the third time in three seasons Moore has been on the list.
For now, the team is focused on the ACC Tournament. But when the season is over, Konig and company wouldn’t be shocked to see their coach bring home some hardware.
“He still has a lot of great opportunities to win Coach of the Year,” Konig said.