Club teams that are or have been active at UTC:
- Bass Anglers
- Lacrosse, men and women’s
- Roller Hockey
- Rugby, men and women’s
- Soccer, men and women’s
- Ultimate Frisbee, men and women’s
- Disc golf
“Once I began attending UTC I missed the team aspect and competitiveness that sports provided for me, so it only made sense to get involved with club sports,” explains Nathaniel Ortiz, the current Baseball Club adviser pursuing a master’s in business administration.
For Ortiz and many students, club sports answer the need for the camaraderie of organized sports, without taking too much from a student’s schedule.
Ortiz was a member of the team and president when it won the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) DII World Series last year.
“We never got too ahead of ourselves and focused only on the games we were currently playing,” says Ortiz.
“That mentality of being present in the moment allowed us to stay on task and enjoy what was happening,” he continues. “It was a big moment for us, and I credit it all to the leaders on the team. Honestly, without them we wouldn’t have accomplished what we did.”
Club sports have more to offer than the name suggests, Ortiz adds.
“Ignore the stigma attached to the title of ‘club sports.’”
“Some members of the baseball team have played baseball in Division-I NCAA or junior/community college but enjoyed playing more at the club level because it’s still competitive without making it a lifestyle while trying to earn an education,” Ortiz says.
The diversity of student interest and outdoor resources in Chattanooga is obvious with just a cursory glance at the club sports teams offered on campus.
Sure, there are classics like baseball and volleyball, but quidditch and equestrian have also been active in recent years.
With campus located just steps away from the Tennessee River, the Bass Anglers and Rowing teams are thriving as well.
An estimated 15 club sports teams will be active this year at UTC, but the number can always change depending on students’ interests.
Eddrick Brooks’ office is located just inside the main entrance of the Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC). Coordinator of club sports and the source for information, logistics and moral support for all club sports team leaders and participants, he says it’s easy for students to try out for a new sport or pick up an old favorite.
“Quickly engage with someone who is a leader in that club — the officer, treasurer, president. I think largely, that’s what club sports is about: student engagement,” explains Brooks.
The gateway to club sports is MocSync, the online portal to all UTC student organizations. Students can connect to teams by clicking “join,” which will set them up to receive email updates with information on meetings and practices.
A step further
A lot of work goes into keeping the teams active. Because the teams are student-led, those who step up to leadership positions must handle such responsibilities as budgeting, fundraising and communicating with national or international league offices.
“Finding a leadership role within club sports isn’t hard to do if — and only if — you are willing to put in time and dedication for the team,” says Rachael Horn, team member and president of women’s volleyball. “Because all of club sports are student-run, help is always welcome but finding someone who is dedicated is the tricky part.”
Don’t let those responsibilities intimidate you too much, Ortiz says.
“If there’s any hesitation to take on the role, you should know that some leaders are born, and some leaders are made,” he explains. “Even if someone doesn’t have the tools right now to be a good or even great leader, the tools will come in time with an open mind and dedication towards becoming the best person you can be.
“Not everything you do will be a success, but what creates the success is learning from the losses and building on the wins.”
Faculty advisors and sponsorships help keep the student-run machines going.
“What we give them (club sports teams) from their student activity fee doesn’t always cover everything,” explains Brooks. “It’s hard to say just how valuable the connections with the faculty, staff and community are.
“I look at these clubs as, in essence, nonprofits. They are responsible for raising their own money, the ins and outs of the business, their paperwork, accruing sponsorship, donations and even volunteering as a method to fundraise.”
Brooks points to his computer screen and an intricate flowchart with arrows connecting steps and instructions. His finger hovers over a cluster of boxes in the middle of the screen.
“That trifecta: Sponsorships, donations and fundraisers are all things that they need to thrive.”
Iconic, Chattanooga-based MoonPie has partnered with the Bass Anglers team since its inception. The “outta-this-world” snack pays for every teammate’s jersey. To demonstrate their appreciation, the team always has a box of MoonPies on hand for local and national tournaments so other teams can get a taste of Chattanooga.
“Anderson Marine Family Boating Center in Old Hickory, TN is our backbone throughout the season,” says a spokesperson from the team.
The family boating center supports the team’s travel costs with hotels, gas money, and the occasional team dinner.
“We couldn’t do this without their help and we do all we can whenever we can to give back to them.”