A few years ago, new UTC graduate Alex Craw didn’t know college fishing teams existed. That all changed when he saw something on television about students his age pursuing a hobby he enjoyed.
“One weekend night, I woke up very early and saw that there was a college bass fishing tournament on ESPN. I saw teams from around the Southeast and just knew that I wanted to start a team here at UTC,” Craw said.
Under Craw’s direction, Mocs Bass Anglers began throwing out their lines in October 2008. Club membership has grown from six members to more than 25. Craw also assisted in getting local sponsorships for the team, including Chattanooga Bakery, Chattanooga Fish-N-Fun, and Joe Burns Custom Rods.
“It’s tough to leave the club. It’s my baby, but I’m really confident in the succeeding leadership,” Craw said. “In the future, I hope the club continues to grow and gets scholarships for some of the members.”
As hard as it is to leave the group, Craw’s leadership role in the Mocs Bass Anglers prepared him for his next challenge, a new job with the Bass Fishing Federation as the National Director of the student Angler Federation.
As part of his job, Craw will travel to high schools around the country and assist in building student bass fishing clubs. He will also be involved in managing regional and national championships, organizing fundraisers, and recruiting sponsorships. “I’m very lucky to get this job,” he said.
Craw, a marketing major and student in the honors program, credits his education at UTC for preparing him for his job. “In the honors program, I had to take classes I wouldn’t normally have taken. Through oral presentations and marketing projects, I learned to express myself and think critically,” he said. “I feel 100% prepared to take on the real world,” he said.
More than 1,000 graduates joined Craw in the transition into the real world at UTC’s 236th Commencement. Former congressman and graduation speaker Zach Wamp told the UTC graduating class of 2011 to “be bold, have courage, and give courage.”
“This commencement begins a productive time in your life,” Wamp said. “Reflect on what it is you think of when your feet hit the ground every morning. That’s your purpose.” Wamp ended his address with a quote from Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotel chain, “Be big, think big, act big, dream big.”
To see photos of spring commencement, view the university’s flickr page here.
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