Mocs Nationally Ranked

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/GoMocs.Com) — The Mocs are nationally ranked for the first time in 13 years!

Here are the details from GoMocs.com.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team is 4-2 overall and in third place in the Southern Conference race at 3-1.  The Mocs are riding their first four-game winning streak since 1997, the last time they were ranked nationally.

UTC checks in at No. 24 in this week’s Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top-25 College Football Poll.  The last time UTC was ranked was Nov. 3, 1997, when they were No. 23 in the the Sports Network Top-25.

Chattanooga heads to Greenville, S.C., this weekend, looking to snap a 15-game losing streak to the Furman Paladins.  Furman is also back in the top-25 this week, coming in at No. 25 with a 4-2 mark, 2-1 in SoCon play.

UTC trying to make it five in a row for the first time since head coach Russ Huesman was a junior defensive back for the Mocs in 1980.  Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) on Saturday.

Nurik Leads Lady Mocs as Freshman

By Jeremy Acree

E-mail to: Jeremy-Acree@utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/The Loop) — Senior Chattanooga tennis player Kate Ksiezopolski walked up to the fence where teammate Jenna Nurik was playing and talked calmly to her, trying to get her to relax. Nurik is a freshman, and she had dropped the first set and was struggling to get into a rhythm against an opponent from UAB in a match at the UTC Tennis Courts.

Freshman Jenna Nurik has excelled in her first season as a Lady Moc.

Freshman Jenna Nurik has excelled in her first season as a Lady Moc.

Nurik had fallen 4-6 in the first set, but she went on to dominate the next two and get the win, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

These talks and reminders have become commonplace recently for Nurik, but they may be the difference between struggling through the first year of college tennis and being one of the top players in the Southern Conference.

It’s something to be expected in nearly all college sports. The freshmen get a little frustrated and need the calming senior leadership. But what was different about this situation was that Nurik was in the No. 1 singles spot, where she has been since she arrived at UTC less than a year ago.

To see the whole Lady Mocs’ roster, click here.

The Roswell, Ga., native was the third-ranked player coming out of the state in her 2009 class, but she came to Chattanooga with no expectations.

“My goal was to be .500 tops,” Nurik said. “And have fun and try to get through the semester. It never crossed my mind that I would play the one spot.”

In the fall, however, she earned the No. 1 placement and has not relinquished it since, compiling a 15-6 record over both the fall and spring seasons. Modest goals turned to carrying a team on her shoulders.

“I was just thinking I’m gonna come in as three or four and I’ll just work my way up and do what they need me to do,” Nurik said. “So when I got the one spot I was like, ‘I really need to step up.’”

A 15-7 doubles record to go along with her strong singles record shows she has been up to the challenge. But she has not done it without help.

When she talks about keys to her success, it isn’t a forehand or serve or backhand that gets mentioned first.

“Positive attitude is a huge one,” Nurik said. “[The team] can tell when I’m upset and they teach me how to be positive. Some of the critical losses we’ve had this season have hit me harder than it hit them. And they just told me to bounce back from it.”

Nurik’s talent was obvious to UTC coach Jeff Clark.

“She’s gotten a little better with each week and with each month,” said Clark. “She’s just gotten more well-rounded as a player and I’m not at all surprised by her success.

“I think she has the talent to be one of the top players in the Southern Conference every year.”

To see the rest of the UTC women’s tennis schedule, click here.

Nurik doesn’t often play like a freshman. But she is not shy about admitting there is still room to grow.

“I’m not as positive as everyone else,” Nurik said. “[When I drop a set] I’m thinking what changed, what did I do that didn’t work out as well.”

So when she is chasing down balls and out-working her opponents, there may be more behind it than talent and skill.

“[The team] is really like a family,” Nurik said. “Everyone is so supportive. It’s real easy when everyone is behind you.”

Men’s Basketball Tickets on Sale for Upcoming Season

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Tickets for the defending SoCon Champs, the Chattanooga Mocs Men’s Basketball Team have gone on sale.

The schedule features 17 home games, including a headline matchup against the ACC’s Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are making the trip to Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena for the first time in almost two decades.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

Season tickets can be purchased at Ticket Office located at Gate One of McKenzie Arena.

“This is a home schedule that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy,” said Athletic Director Rick Hart. “John (Shulman) and his staff have done a great job putting together a competitive schedule in an economic climate that makes it increasingly difficult.”

Season tickets can be purchased online by visiting GoMocs.com, or by calling the ticket office at (423) 266-MOCS. Fans can also buy tickets by visiting McKenzie Arena’s ticket office at Gate One. Season ticket prices begin at $75, and are just $50 for UTC employees, alumni, and youth. Lower level reserved seating is also available, but require a donation to the UTC Mocs Club. Lower level tickets are priced at $175, and $100 for university employees and alumni.

“We are not raising ticket prices, despite the increase in home games,” said Hart. “We have also worked hard to put together a number of packages to fit every budget,” he added, emphasizing the athletic department’s commitment to keep ticket prices affordable during these tough economic times.

The annual Dr. Pepper Classic, December 29-30, looks to be especially strong this year, featuring Morgan State, who appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. Eastern Kentucky and Long Island will also be included in the tournament field.

Another intriguing matchup in the early season is that with instate rival East Tennessee State University, who will face the Mocs November 17 at McKenzie Arena. Other notable non-conference opponents for UTC include Missouri, Richmond, Jacksonville State, and Murray State.

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

This years Blue and Gold Tipoff will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion after the Football team's Moc Walk

As the Mocs prepare to defend their Southern Conference Championship from a year ago, head coach John Shulman is cautiously optimistic, but far from over confident. “I really like this team and its potential,” but added, “Potential is a nasty, nasty word. You’d like to have a lot of known commodities. There is very little known about this team.”

Both the Men and Women’s Basketball teams will officially kick off their season Saturday, October 31 with the “Blue and Gold Tipoff” which has been moved to the First Tennessee Pavilion next to Finley Stadium. Activities will begin immediately following the football teams’ Moc Walk at 11:45 a.m. before their game against Western Carolina.

Home Schedule:

  • 11/13: Tennessee Wesleyan (Exb.)
  • 11/13: Virginia Intermont
  • 11/17: ETSU
  • 12/5: Elon
  • 12/12: Mississippi Valley State
  • 12/14: Georgia Tech
  • 12/21: Tennessee Temple
  • 12/29-12/30: Dr. Pepper Classic
  • 1/11: UNC Greensboro
  • 1/14: The Citadel
  • 1/16: College of Charleston
  • 1/28: Western Carolina
  • 1/30: Appalachian State
  • 2/10: Samford
  • 2/13: Furman
  • 2/22: Davidson

Mocs Healy Happy to be Home

By Andrew D. Holt (UTC/The Loop)—

When Will Healy walked off the Finley Stadium field after his Richmond Spiders won the FCS championship last December, he had a feeling he would be back — and soon.

 For Healy, the past eight months have been an exciting, yet busy time. A time that included his Richmond Spiders winning their first ever national championship was made even sweeter a few days later as he landed his first college coaching job at UTC. “It’s been pretty remarkable,” said Healy, a 2003 Boyd Buchanan graduate. “Winning the national championship in my hometown, in front of my family and friends, it was just a storybook ending.”

To say that Healy, a Chattanooga native, has football in his blood is an understatement. In fact, his family history, as it relates to football, resembles the lineage of two current NFL quarterbacks with the last name Manning. Both Healy’s father and uncle played major college football in addition to his grandfather, who was an All-American offensive lineman at Georgia Tech. As a 2008 graduate of the University of Richmond and former member of the football team, Healy is merely keeping the family tradition alive — only this time he’s taking it one step further as a coach.

The national championship marked the end of Healy’s playing days but he had a feeling, or at least hoped his career with football wasn’t completely over. Less than a week after UTC announced the hiring of former Richmond defensive coordinator Russ Huesman as its 22nd head football coach, Huesman called Healy and offered him a position on his coaching staff. “[Huesman] told me he wanted me on board, and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” Healy recalled.

Healy’s title is offensive assistant, but he maintains that he’ll spend most of his time with the quarterbacks, fitting for a player who played the position from middle school all the way through college. Whatever his title, he’s just glad to have the opportunity to jump right into coaching straight out of college without having to work as graduate assistant, which is the more conventional route.

But the lure of home and the UTC job was too much for him to pass up. “What was so appealing about this was to be able to have some input in what goes on offensively,” he offered.

Because he was hired just a few weeks before high school players can sign their national letters of intent, Healy spent much of his first month working the phones and evaluating film of potential prospects, something he admittedly enjoys. “The recruiting aspect is something that’s really exciting to me,” said Healy, the youngest member of the new football staff. “It’s an interesting thing to view from the coaching side. I like building those relationships.”

At just 24 years old, Healy knows his age might be a bit of an obstacle to overcome, but he considers it something he can turn into a positive. “I’m barely removed from the situation,” he said. “So I know what they’re going through when they have to get up early and go run outside in the freezing cold.” As a first-year coach, Healy recognizes it will take him some time to develop his own style of coaching but insisted much of his philosophy will be centered upon strong relationships with his players, something he valued as a former player. “I think it’s really important for these guys to realize that I care about them, and that I want them to do well,” he said. He said his goal is to teach as much as possible, while learning at the same time, because even by his own admission, he doesn’t know it all.

Healy knows what it takes to rebuild a losing program. It was just three years ago when the University of Richmond president sought to eliminate scholarship football because of the school’s struggles to field a competitive team. “I want to try and bring some of those same philosophies that made us so successful at Richmond here to UTC,” he said.

It’s a bit cliché to say that it will take a lot of hard work to turn around a program that’s been mired by failure as much as UTC has in the last several years, but it is the truth says Healy. “We have to help these players understand what it takes to be successful,” he said. “It’s a mentality, whether it’s in the classroom or on the football field, whatever opportunities these guys have, they have to give 110 percent.”

Even with the past lack of success, Healy believes there are still a lot of good things to sell at UTC and that it’s just a matter of putting a winning product on the field. “I believe in what Coach Huesman’s trying to do and I believe in what these other coaches are teaching,” he said. “And I couldn’t be happier to be back home to help turn this thing around.”

Mocs Beat Glenville State 30-13 in Season Opener

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Chris Awuah rushed for two touchdowns and B.J. Coleman threw for another, leading Chattanooga to a 30-13 win over Glenville State on Thursday night.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgG0l2Xr6Ko

      Coleman was 18 of 34 passing for 258 yards and Awuah finished with 63 yards on the ground and two catches for 12 yards for the Mocs (1-0), who snapped a 10-game losing streak. It was also the first win for new coach Russ Huesman, who played defensive back for the Mocs from 1978-81.
      The Mocs, who were outgained by the Pioneers 379-332 in the game, scored the first 28 points of the game en route to victory.
      Bo Dyer and Awuah ran for touchdowns of 2 and 3 yards, respectively, and Coleman hit Garrett Hughes on a 73-yard touchdown pass to put the Mocs up 21-0 at halftime.
      James McCants was 14 of 28 passing for 138 yards and an interception for the Division II Pioneers (1-1).
     
      (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9sw2KHI5Gg