By Adam Stephens, Chattanooga, TN–The game against Appalachian State did not only end the regular season for the basketball team, but also ended the 27th season
for Dewayne Gass, or as most basketball fans would know him, the Moc Maniac.
If you have come to a men’s or women’s basketball game, you have surely encountered or heard the Moc Maniac yelling and trying to pump up the crowd.
Gass has been with the Mocs for 27 years, starting back when Mack McCarthy led UTC.
McCarthy had just come from Auburn and wanted to take the already winning record for the Mocs and make the crowd more involved like an SEC school fan base, Gass said.
Gass said his job was not only to get the fans jumping but to also bring in new fans, getting the crowd into the game.
“I’m going to be the craziest guy in the building and act so outrageous that the people who were afraid to do anything but golf clap would get into the game,” Gass said. “So if they got a third of the way to where I was at then the place was going to be pretty crazy.”
When the Moc Maniac started, the school was looking to get the crowd involved that one of the identities of UTC would be its fans.
“The school wanted to have a fan based identity and now it’s Mocs Maniacs,” Gass said. “And now you have the McDonalds Mocs Maniacs, which is student based and I’m proud of that. That it came from just a hand full of us getting together.”
Although Gass ended up in Chattanooga this isn’t where he began, he started his own marketing career beforehand, doing promotions for Krystal and for the Loft Restaurants.
He also had a company where he was a Master of Ceremonies (MC) that did high school parties, college parties, fraternity parties and that’s how he got started.
Gass also worked for the Atlanta Hawks for a time at the same time that he was working as the Mocs Maniac at UTC.
Gass worked with Harry the Hawk in Atlanta, Ga., where he saw the Hawks fans using signs that read Go Hawks which is where Gass got the idea for the signs he uses.
“They had Go Hawks signs,” Gass said. “And that was in my second year doing Moc Mania, and I was like ‘We need Go Mocs signs!’ And I did not have the Go Mocs signs the first season but I got them the second season in.”
With social media and information at a person’s fingertips, using smart phones to get scores and live updates from anywhere, coming to sporting events like Mocs Basketball has lost its luster.
Gass continues to put on a show for the fans who come to the games to support the Mocs.
Gass remains completely humble in his job that he does and wants to personally thank the fans.
“I see these people on the street and they say ‘Hey Dwayne or Moc Maniac’,” Gass said. “They come in here to my business and support us. When my babies were born I got dozens and dozens of congratulatory messages, and they have just made me part of their family.”
Be sure you come out next year to support both the mens and womens teams and to see the Moc Maniac yelling and supporting the teams he loves.