By Jackson Sparks, Staff Writer—
Last weekend, Chattanooga’s head soccer coach Gavin McKinney recorded win number 100 of his career.
After such an impressive milestone, McKinney was quick to credit those that have been around him throughout his time coaching.
“It feels good to get to 100,” said McKinney. “But you’ve got to have good people around you and you’ve got to have good players. I have been lucky enough to have both of those at my time at Cumberland University and here at UTC.”
McKinney came to Chattanooga with 71 wins under his belt and has added 29 victories during his time with the Mocs over the last five years. When he took over as coach in 2015, the Mocs were coming off of a 1-17-1 record. Now in year five, he has subsequently brought the team to relevance in the Southern Conference.
When asked to name a few individuals that have him get to this point in his career, he credited his father, who coached him all the way up until college but said there are numerous others to thank.
“You’re lucky when you get to work with good players who want to work hard and fight for one another,” said McKinney. “If you’re a head coach and you’re lucky enough to find good staff members, it all leads to being successful, a lot of people have helped along the way.”
McKinney said his ten years coaching has completely changed him as a person.
“I was 27 when I became a head coach, like most young coaches, I thought I knew way more than I actually did,” said McKinney.
He said as he’s gotten older, his perspective has changed as a coach. He puts more emphasis on enjoying every day and building relationships than he did at the start of his career.
“I used to have a one-track mind, the game was the most important thing to me, that was the sole focus,” said McKinney. “I think I’ve definitely improved from the human side.”
After a short time to reflect, McKinney is purely focused on the Mocs succeeding this season.
“I really like our team, I think they are a hard-working bunch and I have no doubt that when we go in to the weekend with our games, they’re going to battle,” said McKinney. “But we have yet to hit our ceiling so there’s definitely room for improvement.”
He said he knows the team will work extremely hard to reach that ceiling as the season continues to progress.
“We’ve got really big games ahead and then it’s time for tournaments,” said McKinney. “So we need to just keep on pushing forward.”
The Mocs take the field just five more times before the start of the Southern Conference Tournament on Oct. 30.