By Chris King, Editor-In-Chief —
As I sit here and reminisce on my three years spent working for the University Echo, I can’t help but to filled with emotion thinking about all of the great memories, connections and friendships that I’ve made with the many great people I have worked with throughout my college career.
My time with the Echo started in the first semester of my sophomore year when I began writing for the sports section. I had the opportunity to start covering different fall UTC sports such as volleyball, women’s and men’s golf, cross country, basketball and football. The 2015 football season really allowed me to find my passion with covering sports as I got to experience the Mocs win the Southern Conference, win a playoff game and finish the season ranked ninth in the FCS. My favorite piece I wrote as a staff writer was when I covered the football team’s watch party for the 2015 FCS playoffs.
Following my first semester with the Echo, I was hired onto editorial staff as Assistant Sports Editor and that’s when I discovered my passion for editing and newspaper design. During my first semester on staff, I had the opportunity to cover the best season in UTC men’s basketball history as the Mocs won a school-record 29 games, claimed the SoCon regular season and tournament titles and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. My favorite piece I wrote during my sophomore spring semester was after the men’s basketball team lost to Indiana in the NCAA Tournament.
Heading into my junior year of college, I continued as the Assistant Sports Editor but I also took on the role of Social Media Manager where I managed the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the Echo. On top of running the social media for the Echo, I started solely covering football and men’s basketball for the sports section. During football season I had the unique opportunity of covering a game at the University of Alabama when UTC took on the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide. During basketball season I had the opportunity of covering games at the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University. My favorite piece I wrote during my junior fall semester was recapping how men’s basketball performed over Christmas break.
During my last semester as Assistant Sports Editor, I continued writing, editing and designing the newspaper but I started to take on more responsibilities due to opportunity of being Sports Editor for my senior year. Towards the end of my junior year, I had the opportunity of covering a few breaking news stories within the UTC athletic department. At the end of March 2017, men’s basketball head coach Matt McCall left UTC to assume the same position at the University of Massachusetts. One week later, former Wisconsin assistant coach Lamont Paris was hired as the new head coach of the men’s basketball team. My favorite piece I wrote during my junior spring semester was the coverage of the men’s basketball coaching change.
Heading into my final year at UTC, I was named Sports Editor for fall 2017 where I managed the sports staff on top of continuing to write, edit and design content for the sports section. At the very beginning of my time as Sports Editor, David Blackburn stepped down as UTC’s athletic director to pursue other interests. Two months later in August 2017, UTC named Mark Wharton as the new athletic director after he spent four years at Penn State and 22 years on the college athletics level. Following the quick start to my time as Sports Editor, in September, I had the opportunity of traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to cover UTC football against LSU in Death Valley. My favorite piece I wrote during my senior fall semester was when UTC football traveled to No. 8 Samford and won on a last-second field goal. That was the last game I covered during my at the Echo and it will be a moment I will never forget.
At the end of my senior fall semester, I was named Editor-In-Chief of the Echo for the last semester of my college career. As EIC I took on a multitude of responsibilities which included being in charge of the editorial staff and overall operations of the newspaper. My time as EIC was filled with many learning opportunities that will help in my future professional opportunities. I had the privilege of leading an amazing staff that not only helped me grow as a student but as a person. I will forever be grateful for the friendships and connections I made during my time as Editor-In-Chief of the Echo. Being able to work with so many intelligent, unique personalities throughout my final semester at UTC will be something I will hold with me many years down the road.
As I wrap up my college career at UTC and with the University Echo, I can confidently say that I gave my all for the school newspaper over my three years of various titles. As I type my last words for the Echo, I just want everyone to know that working for the Echo may seem stressful and time consuming but it was the most rewarding part of my life and college career. The memories and friendships I made while working for the Echo will be remembered for a lifetime.