UTC basketball coach John Shulman was honored Tuesday with Distinguished Citizen Awards from the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County governments as he brought his team to the Courts Building for a 30-minute address by General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon.
Mayor Ron Littlefield and County Mayor Claude Ramsey presented coach Shulman with the awards in a surprise ceremony.
The sixth-year head coach brought his team down for a visit with the judge, who congratulated the team members "for their sterling example on and off the court."
“Coach Shulman and the basketball Mocs are tremendous ambassadors for our campus as they travel across the country,” said UTC Chancellor Dr. Roger Brown. “Coach Shulman leads his players and team by example, emphasizing good sportsmanship, a commitment to academics, and overall integrity. He is quite deserving of this recognition.”
Shulman’s Mocs are 13-10, 5-5 in the Southern Conference North Division after losing five starters from the 2009 Southern Conference Championship team. His 2009 squad was the 10th in the school’s 32-season history at that time to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
“I was definitely surprised,” said coach Shulman. “This was supposed to be a day for our kids that Judge Moon was nice enough to have us in here.
“It’s nice to have reassurance that people care that you are doing what is important with these young men. Wins and losses are a factor in how we view what we do, however this focuses on the greater goal.”
The Mocs travel to College of Charleston this Thursday to square off with the South Division leader at 7 p.m. Chattanooga will stay in town through Saturday night’s tilt at The Citadel. The next home game is on Wednesday, Feb. 10, against Samford.
Judge Moon told the players, "Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win in the games that count are the ones who can get inside their players' minds and hearts and motivate them to win both the game of basketball and the game of life.
"The great Vince Lombardi said, 'Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for the individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.'
"You are the role models for the young people of this community and across this state. We are all proud of your good example both on and off the court. The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.
"You will never reach perfection in the game, but you can practice perfectly and reach excellence. You must take a long range view of your life and goals. The short range view is exactly that, short range and meaningless.
"You have been given the gift to be an athlete, a role model and a teacher to the younger guys that wish every day that they were you. You have heard to those whom much is given, much is expected. Your coaches, professors, family and friends expect no more out of you than you should expect out of yourselves.
"Show me the guys a man hangs out with and I will tell you what kind of guy that he is. That long and lonely walk that Tyler Smith and Brian Williams made after emptying their lockers and leaving their teammates and opportunity must never be you.
"Who you are as a person will always be much more important than who you are as a player. Fouling out in the game of basketball is never fatal, but fouling out in the game of life usually is.
"Always remember that the main ingredient for stardom is the rest of the team. As the great basketball legend John Wooden once said, 'Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self given. Be careful.'"