By Isaiah Buchanan, Staff Writer —
Recruiting and resources are the paths to making Mocs sports great again.
Both football and men’s basketball did not perform as highly as many would have like to have seen this year, but the recruiting for these two programs should bring a lot of excitement back to the city of Chattanooga. Both teams led the Southern Conference in recruiting. This is also the first time in program history that the men’s basketball team ended in the top 100 nationally in recruiting. Although there will be some adjustments for these new Mocs, they should be able to help improve our teams greatly next year.
A contributing factor for both football and basketball struggles was youth. Neither team is graduating very many seniors. With these new recruits, and a lot of talent and experience coming back next year, look for these two teams to radiate fear throughout the SoCon.
Women’s basketball didn’t have their strongest year either, but people have nothing to worry about. Jim Foster is a 900-win coach and you do not get to 900 wins by not being able to adjust in the offseason.
There are a lot of girls coming back from a team that posted some big wins over Division one schools, such as: Florida, Auburn, Northwestern, Georgetown, and Indiana. This team is going to be scary good next year.
A lot of resources are also being put into our wrestling program. They finished second in the SoCon behind Appalachian State. To build off of that, they are going out and trying to get some of the nations top-10 recruits. Combine that kind of talent with the coaches of the wrestling program and they will be pinning down those mountaineers without even breaking a sweat.
UTC has never been known for their men’s and women’s track and field team. That will all be changing in the next couple of years. The two teams do not have a track to use on campus, but there are long term plans to put a track into Engel Stadium. More resources are being put into helping UTC’s track and field program grow.
Men’s and women’s golf is also getting a lot of new resources to help their growth as well. There is a new short-game practice center inside McKenzie Arena that Mocs golfers will be able to use in between classes. This upgrade should help UTC’s teams compete against other top-notch schools in the SoCon like Furman.
Many people tend to define success by the numbers in the wins and loss columns. At UTC we define success as aiding the men and women athletes to grow into professional young adults. Our athletics had a great semester last semester in the classroom. Many of our sports programs posted new team high GPAs.
“We owe to our university and the community to make sure these guys are getting degrees” said Athletic Director Mark Wharton.
This year was a stepping stone for the Mocs. Nothing is broken, but there were some cracks and those cracks are getting filled with new recruits, facilities, and resources to help UTC athletics be great again.