UTC Wrestlers Honor Jim Morgan Today

UTC Hosts The Citadel at 2 p.m. at Big Mac

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

“Good morning Coach Morgan.”

“It’s a big day in the Morgan household as many of your boys are coming back to Big Mac to honor you.

The Mocs and coach Heath Eslinger need your support today as they have a tough match with The Citadel at 2 p.m. at Maclellan Gym.

A familiar voice you say, but can’t quite put your finger on it ?

Yep, that’s me  .

.. over here, where I was for years ... on your right – sometimes, left – shoulder.

Your faithful and oft-used towel.

You’ve worn out a few of us over the years at UTC and Baylor, but I’m the godfather of them all.

I was there for your first college match (vs. Carson-Newman, Nov.22, 1968) and watched from a distance (you retired me a few years hence) as you and the Mocs won your last SoCon title in 1983.

Coming from McCallie, you brought in great local talent and gave perennial power Auburn and coach Swede Umbach all they could handle with Southern champions Glasser, Faires and Gross.

 I was there in 1974 when you smiled as Bill Burnside was your first All-American, followed by some kid from Hixson named Batten who won three national championships and even graced the cover of the NCAA wrestling guide.

Then I traveled to the NCAAs as you and the Mocs took the program from a solid Southern team to one who stood toe-to-toe with the best in the D-II land with three top 10 finishes and seven guys who won national championships or were All-Americans.

You know the names – Batten, Burnside and Brennan … Kavelage and Jackson … Weeks and Big Ziggy and more.

I was there to wipe the sweat and even some tears away after close wins and tough losses.

Never one to back off from wrestling the best, you brought in Kentucky for a 1976 Tuesday  night Big Mac sellout. We both fretted and  sweated and you twisted and tossed me around from shoulder to shoulder all the while admonishing the Mocs in arguably the most exciting home match ever although our Mocs fell, 22-18.

I listened intently as you coached your boys to the school’s first Southern crown later that season. And together we listened to the lame excuses from the officials for taking away a team point for “excessive celebration” and losing the Southern championship by one point.

While the numbers are impressive - 16 years, 209 wins, 9 All-Americans, 6 SoCon titles, 3 NCAA D-II top 10 finishes and a good showing at D-I ( 14th) I – it still about the boys your helped turn into men.

This afternoon I’ll be right there as, together, we see old friends and hear the old war stories one more time.

So throw me over your right shoulder and let’s get there early as the old Mocs cheer on the young Mocs and win another one for the Blue and Gold in Big Mac.

And as the young and old rise as one to honor the Legends and a Legendary Coach, let’s you and I wave back and say thanks for the memories, never, never quit and always look to shoot the half.”

 

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



John Shearer: Remembering The 1977 Baylor Football Team, Part 2 – Becoming State Bound

Forty years ago this fall, my Baylor School teammates and I were determined to help the Red Raiders return to a top position in Chattanooga high school football after a disappointing season of 5-5 in 1976.   Beginning in seventh grade, many of us had not only witnessed and cheered on some outstanding Baylor varsity teams under coach E.B. “Red” Etter from the stands, but ... (click for more)

Boykin, Carr Win Black Knight Wrestling Invite Titles

Seniors Scottie Boykin and Bryce Carr bounced back from losses in Friday’s dual against No. 8 Virginia Tech by posting impressive wins at the Black Knight Invite in West Point, N.Y., today.  The Mocs had 12 of their 15 entries place in the tournament hosted by Army West Point.   Boykin improved to 8-1 with two decision and an 8-0 major over Binghampton’s Mark Tracy ... (click for more)

Spring Creek Elementary Closed Monday And Tuesday Due To Fire In Boiler Room

There was a fire early Monday around  4 a.m.  in the boiler room at Spring Creek Elementary School causing the school to be closed Monday and Tuesday.    Damage from the fire was contained to the boiler room but the utilities to the building are also in the damaged boiler area which left the school without power, heat and other necessities to have ... (click for more)

Tony Williams, 26, Shot On Dodson Avenue Late Sunday Night

Tony Williams, 26, was shot late Sunday night on Dodson Avenue. Chattanooga Police responded at 11:50 p.m.,  to the 900 block of Dodson Avenue on a shooting.   Upon arrival, police located the victim who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. HCEMS responded and transported the victim to a nearby hospital. The victim advised police that the ... (click for more)

Pollution For Profit?

Why should Chattanooga allow special interests to boost sediment pollution in our South Chickamauga Creek? To pad their profit margin and pass that cost on to city taxpayers? If your city council votes to reduce the storm water regulations – that is the result we can expect. Special interest homebuilders profit, but citizens pay.  More sediment pollution and paid for with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: America’s ‘Shush’ Fund

Michael Reagan, the son of one of our nation’s greatest presidents, wrote a wonderful op-ed piece on Sunday that explained why he believes the women who have stepped forward to allege they were once abused by Judge Roy Moore. He wrote that when he, a political consultant, is asked why the women waited 40 years to bring up the charges, “I tell them I didn’t reveal my sexual abuse ... (click for more)