B.B. Branton: Sports Christmas Presents For Chattanooga

Monday, December 24, 2012 - by B.B. Branton

It’s been an excellent sports year for Chattanooga from the filming of a movie at Engel Stadium to national championships to hall of fame inductions.

The following have given the Chattanooga area a Christmas present of good publicity, notoriety and name recognition. 

In Keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas ... here are my 12 Highlights of 2012 …

Stephen Fox – No question the biggest and brightest present under the tree is a U.

S. Amateur and world team championship won by UTC golfer Stephen Fox … A life-changing few months for the quiet golfer with the magical 60 degree wedge … and we cannot wait until he tees it up with Bubba Watson on the first tee at The Masters on that Thursday morning in April …

UTC Women’s Basketball … wrapped in Blue and Gold, the Lady Mocs gave their fans one of the greatest gifts in program history and a night to remember … UTC gained national attention for its season-opening win against Tennessee, 80-71, before 8,000+ at McKenzie Arena on Nov.9 … Taylor Hall had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Wes Moore-coached squad, while teammate Alex Black added 14 points and four rebounds.

Janna Jahn – A tip of the cap to Janna and her Engel Stadium foundation board as they have tirelessly worked to put Engel Stadium back in playing shape … the Jackie Robinson movie “42” was filmed, in part, here and upon its release in the spring will bring attention to our city and remind young and old alike about “The House that Joe Built” 80 years ago.

Chattanooga State Softball … led by national tournament most valuable player and outstanding pitcher, Ashley Czechner, the Lady Tigers of Chattanooga State captured the programs first national championship in May in St. George, Utah … The Tigers defeated Salt Lake (Utah) Community College, 4-1, on a three-hitter by Czechner for the NJCAA Division I title as coach Beth Keyln-Randolph was named tournament coach of the year..

Wesley Cash – the former Baylor School and U. of Georgia tennis player won his second tennis grand slam in 2012 with doubles titles on indoor, grass, clay and hard courts … He also won all four in 2002 ... Dr. David Moore of Elite Sports Medicine in Nashville gave Wes one of the best Christmas presents ever – a new strong right knee in 2010 and two years later Wesley cashed in his chips along with a strong serve, backhand and net play and ran the table in the 55s to claim a grand slam.

Sue Bartlett – GPS tennis coach won the Women’s 55s National Clay Courts title this fall and will also head to Turkey as a member of the Great Britain Women’s 50s … Bartlett led her native country to the team gold medal in 2009 and has also earned the team silver (2010) and a bronze (2011) … The former UTC All-American has led GPS to team and individual state championships in 24 years as the Bruisers head coach.

Zan Guerry – Zan and his son Jeff who won their second senior father-son national doubles title in November …  The Chattem exec has won 31 national championships in singles and doubles ... He has won at least one national title in six decades starting with his first championship in the 11s in 1960 at Manker Patten.

Davis Tull – UTC sophomore defensive end has been named to four All-American teams … the former walk-on with a 3.43 grade point average has earned American Football Coaches Association first team honors and second team recognition by Associated Press, The Sports Network and Walter Camp … The Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year led the SoCon with a UTC single-season record 19.0 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks … he finished the year fifth on the team with 56 tackles while forcing three fumbles ... He is currently second on the Mocs' all-time list with 17.5 career sacks.

Heath Eslinger … UTC wrestling coach who took the bull by the horns and brought the impressive Southern Scuffle to McKenzie Arena (Jan. 1-2) to start 2012 with a bang for wrestling fans ... (the tourney was previously at UNC Greensboro until the Southern Conference school dropped varsity wrestling after the 2010-11 season) … defending NCAA champs Penn State, plus national powers Cornell, Minnesota and others also brought teams … Eslinger has added Oklahoma State, South Dakota State (with former UTC coach Chris Bono) and Northern Colorado to next week’s impressive field – Jan 1-2 … championship finals are Jan. 2 at 6 p.m.

Hannah Vanbiber … the Covenant College grad who works for CityScope magazine did a great service to our community with the inaugural edition of the CityScope High School Football Preview this past summer …Doubtful that anyone else has ever produced a four-color, high-end prep football preview yearbook for the Chattanooga area … Hannah (editor) and graphic designer Emily Long are to be commended.

And For Lifetime Service !! …

Luther Masingill – For his long overdue induction into the national radio broadcasters hall of fame … led by the tireless efforts of David Carroll (WRCB-TV Ch.3) and James Howard (WDEF Radio, 92.3 FM), Masingill was inducted in November .. The Chattanooga Central High School graduate  is also a member of the inaugural class of the Tennessee Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame (May 2012) … known mainly as an on-air radio personality keeping Chattanoogans informed on current happenings in our area, Luther has ties to the Chattanooga sports world as he once served as the p.a. announcer for the Chattanooga Lookouts under Joe Engel.

Gary Davis – For the retiring Coca Cola exec and his four decades of great work with various youth sports programs, especially Dixie Youth Baseball ... he started with the company by driving a truck in the summers while at Furman and worked his way up the corporate ladder to become one of the best spokesmen in the company … Gary, who led McCallie to Mid-South Conference Championships in swimming and baseball in the late 1960s, was a DYB district director in the early 1990s.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Lee Softball Falls To West Florida

West Florida opened up a six run lead and held on for a 6-3 victory over the Lee softball team to avoid the series sweep on Saturday afternoon on a brisk day at Butler Field. Lee took the first two games of the series in a doubleheader sweep yesterday. The Lady Flames are now 7-4 overall and 2-1 in the Gulf South Conference. The Argonauts improve to 7-3 and are 1-2 in league ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Cougars Split With Gordon State

The Cougars of Cleveland State split their double header this afternoon at Gordon State College. Cleveland State (4-2) lost game one 7-6, but took the rubber match 6-2 winning the series.  "We let game one slip away," said head Coach Mike Polilcastro.  "Our goal was to win the series and we battled all weekend coming back from deficits in winning two games." ... (click for more)

Couple In Small Plane Make Emergency Landing On Highway 27 North Of Dayton

Tom Webb and his fiancée were traveling from Pigeon Forge to Winchester when, at 5,500 feet, they experienced engine trouble. They lost their engine and had to make an emergency landing on Highway 27 north of Dayton. They landed safely and were able to push the plane off the road with help from the Rhea County Sheriff's Department. The incident happened around 7 p.m. on ... (click for more)

Man At Homeless Camp On Chestnut Street Charged With Trying To Set Fire To Another Man

A man at a homeless camp on Chestnut Street has been charged with trying to set fire to another man at the camp. Richard Warren "Trey" Erwin, 40, is charged with aggravated arson. Police were called to the 2200 block of Chestnut at 12:40 a.m. Earlier, Michael Nye and Alisa Buckels had called for an ambulance. They were checked out at Erlanger Hospital for inhalation injuries. ... (click for more)

Alexander And Corker Need To Talk Sense To Their Leadership

Alexander and Corker really need to talk some sense to their leadership  So a Supreme Court Justice dies and before the POTUS can even come up with a list of replacements, Mitch McConnell states the Republican Senate will not seat Obama's replacement. Why? Because they want to throw a hissy fit.  For 240 years the Senate has done their constitutional duty and has ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Evaluators Earn $11.70

A number of curious job notices, under the heading of ‘General Labor,’ have appeared on various Craigslists, that free Internet portal where you can find everything from a used lawn tractor, guitar lessons or even a saucy Saturday night date. This week on the Charlotte, N.C., Craigslist, for example, there appeared an offer to become a “reader/evaluator” for a company known as Measurement ... (click for more)