Pining For The Old Mocs Days - And Response (2)

Monday, January 21, 2013

I want to say that I truly feel for the basketball players at UTC right now. I have been going to games since I was a small child and I have never seen the program looked on as negatively as it is right now. 

I remember a Roundhouse that was packed full with every seat taken all the way up to the ceiling. I remember the student section was so small because they sold all the tickets to people at season ticket rates.  

The problem these days are you have fans that have always been there and know how it used to be and now we have this new breed that doesn't understand the past and where the program used to be. Many of the employees of the athletic department have something in their mind that they are doing a great job. I know the students are making better grades and that is great but it is just embarrassing to have less than 500 people at a basketball game. I can tell you numerous donors to the program like me that have stopped the donations until changes are made. 

John Shulman is one of the nicest people on campus but his presence is becoming a cancer to the university as a whole. His lack of knowledge of the game is more evident by each game. The fans don't want him there; players don't want him there; and staff doesn't want him there either - they are just to afraid to come out and say what everyone sees in their faces. We all know that the biggest mistake was resigning him to another contract after UTC won the SoCon tourney that was held on their home court. 

I love UTC Basketball. Remember these:
- ESPN ranked our Roundhouse one of the hardest places to play in the country in the 90's
- in the 90's we were in the mid major top 10 most years

It bothers me to pay full price for season tickets which I normally do then seeing people who pay for general admission just walk down and sit right next to me. Where is the loyalty? Next year my plan is to buy general admission tickets then just walk down like everyone else. Saves money and I am still right there. 

As for now I will sit around and wait for a new university president and then an athletic director, then they will see that the changes have to be made.  

Oh, and Go Mocs! 

P.S. Congrats JR on 1,000 broadcasts. 

Mark Stephens

* * *  

Coach Shulman is currently overseeing a new direction for UTC basketball - no JUCOs, building a foundation for the future. UTC is not Kentucky - it isn't going to happen overnight with a single recruiting class. This year's team is improving rapidly despite its youth and a series of injuries, including a remarkable comeback against Appy State last week. They led Kansas at the half. They competed at LSU and at Georgia Tech. They won the Dr. Pepper Classic. Those things do not happen if players do not want to play for the coach.  

I have seen Coach Shulman run a practice and have seen him take the Mocs to two NCAA tournaments. He knows basketball, and he will get this team playing tough by the SoCon tournament. He runs a clean, respectable program that competes in a tough mid-major conference (Davidson? College of Charleston?).  

Take a look around the college basketball coaching world at some of the embarrassments-to-their-universities roaming the sidelines to see what "cancer" actually looks like.

Chris Carpenter

* * * 

While I'm sure Mr. Stephens heart is in the right place, his memory may be slightly exaggerated. 

Last year's team was a disappointment by anyone's standards, I'm sure Coach Shulman included.  But this years team has been completely different, and while young, has proven to be fighters, not willing to give up even when down by double digits late in games.  They're a young team, building for the future. 

Mr. Stephens says:  "I remember a Roundhouse that was packed full with every seat taken all the way up to the ceiling." 

That has happened three times since the Roundhouse opened.  Twice in 1982 (Tennessee and North Carolina) and once in 2007 (Tennessee).  Anyone know who the head coach of the Mocs was in 2007?  John Shulman. 

The best year for attendance was 1982-83 at 7,485 per game (less than 2/3rds of the arena's capacity) and that included home games against North Carolina and Tennessee. 

So while Mr. Stephens may remember larger crowds than exist today, he does not remember a Roundhouse "packed full with every seat taken all the way up to the ceiling" as that has only happened three times in 30 years and John Shulman can take credit for 33 percent of those times. 

Many programs are suffering from decreased attendance.  Quite frankly, there are more options for people and students now than there were in the 80's and 90's.  There are dozens of games on my TV every night, I can see even more on the internet...  the options today are far more for me to choose than in 1982. 

Mr. Stephens also says: "Remember these:
- ESPN ranked our Roundhouse one of the hardest places to play in the country in the 90's
- in the 90's we were in the mid major top 10 most years
It bothers me to pay full price for season tickets which I normally do then seeing people who pay for general admission just walk down and sit right next to me. Where is the loyalty? Next year my plan is to buy general admission tickets then just walk down like everyone else. Saves money and I am still right there." 

Yes, ESPN did rank our Roundhouse one of the hardest places to play in the county in the 90's...  and it still would be if more Chattanoogans came out to support Chattanooga's team in the stands rather than stay at home and choose from one of those dozen games on TV or so many more on the web. 

No, in the 90's we were not in the "mid major top 10 most years" because no such poll existed. 

And yes...  my father was a season ticket holder from the day the arena opened until he died in October of 2009, and he too used to get upset to see those folks walk down and sit next to him as well but he bought season tickets to support the university and to make sure that Section 116, Row E was always ours, and that the opposing bench knew it was ours. 

Last year was a huge disappointment, but it's gone now.  This year we have a team that's fighting...  and we have a coach that makes our University proud.  I'm standing by Coach Shulman and our Mocs.  I'm hoping for this season's team to continue to fight their way to a championship in Asheville. 

Our university fight song is "Fight, Chattanooga" and this years Mocs are doing just that, they're fighting.  Go Mocs! 

Trevor Southerland
UTC Pep Band, 2002 - 2005
Marching Mocs Drum Major, 2005



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