Randy Smith: Sometimes, Change Is A Good Thing

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
When former UTC Head Basketball Coach John Shulman was asked to leave his position more than a year ago, I supported the decision. I love Coach Shulman to this day, and really admire what he accomplished as the Mocs' head coach. However, in many instances a change at the top can be a good thing. That was the case at UTC.
 
New Coach Will Wade has breathed fresh air into the once proud UTC program. As of today, the Mocs are in second place in the Southern Conference Standings at 10-2, with an overall mark of 16-11. They have four games left in the regular season before play begins in the SoCon Tournament. The Mocs next outing will be Thursday night as they host Georgia Southern at McKenzie Arena.
For the first time in many years, the Mocs have a sure-fire star on their squad. Zaccheus Mason leads the SoCon in rebounding (9.6 per game) and is currently fourth in scoring. (17.9 per game) Mason has been a key contributor to the Mocs great season thus far, but Coach Wade's squad has some other key parts as well.
 
Wade has brought a "family feel" to the Mocs' program. No one player is more important than another, and everyone, coaches, players and fans alike, should all be on the same page. That's why attendance has increased dramatically at McKenzie Arena. Coach Wade has made it fun to come to Mocs' basketball games again. With four games left in the regular season, UTC has already clinched a bye in round one of the SoCon Tournament. In the past several years, Mocs' fans have not only been unexcited about the tournament, they were totally indifferent about UTC basketball. That's why the change was made.
 
There was another change at UTC last year as well. Long-time Head Coach Wes Moore finally left the Lady Mocs' program for a big-time ACC job at North Carolina State. UTC administration, led by athletic director David Blackburn, hired a Hall of Fame coach in former Vandy and Ohio State head coach Jim Foster. While Foster did inherit some talent from Wes Moore's last Lady Mocs' squad, UTC hasn't missed a beat. Coach Foster has shown from day one why he is a Hall of Fame coach, as the Lady mocs haven't missed a single beat. As of today, UTC is 23-3 and an amazing 15-0 in the Southern Conference. Coach Moore's tenure at UTC was highly successful, though he even felt deep down that things had become stale in the program. 
 
"Change for the sake of change", isn't always a good thing. (Tennessee football is a great example) Personally, I have always thought of changing something to shake things up a bit, was potentially a bad thing. Gone are the days of one man or woman staying at one school or at one team as the head coach for twenty or more years. It just isn't going to happen again.
 
One year ago, things were about as bad at UTC as they had been in a long, long time. Changing head coaches allowed the men's program to make a complete turn around. Now, the crowds are better and interest is approaching where it was in the Murray Arnold-Mack McCarthy days. The Mocs have satisfied the old guard as well as created new and younger fans for Chattanooga basketball.   
 
Yep, things are fun again at the Round House. I hope that never changes!    

-----

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Edmonds, Roberts, Parker Voted DII Preseason All-State

Two McCallie players and one Baylor player have been voted to the Star Physical Therapy Division II Preseason All-State team in Murphy Fair's Tennessee High School Football magazine. Chosen on defense were McCallie's Nygel Edmonds and Jay Roberts and Baylor's Ryan Parker. Edmonds is a defensive back, Parker plays linebacker and Roberts is a lineman.     ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Amateur Starts In Knoxville

KNOXVILLE -- Tee times have been set for the 10th Tennessee State Amateur Championship here this week at the Holston Hills Country Club.   100th Annual Tennessee State Amateur Championship Updated: 8/4/2015 8:26 AM EDT Holston Hills Country Club My Leaderboard Fav SC ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Indicted On 13 Charges; Report Says He Drove Excessive Hours

The Chattanooga Police Department has issued a capias for the arrest of Benjamin Brewer, 39, concerning the multiple fatality traffic crash that occurred on I-75 northbound on June 25. Brewer was indicted on Monday on 13 counts.  They include six counts of vehicular homicide by impairment, a B-felony; four counts for reckless aggravated assault, a D-felony; one count for DUI ... (click for more)

Sterling Jetton Seeks Office Of Hamilton County Assessor Of Property

Rev. Sterling Jetton announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for the office of Hamilton County assessor of property.  The Republican Primary will be held on March 1.  After serving in the United States Army and the National Guard, Mr. Jetton has worked as an employee of the Assessor of Property’s office for 27 years.  Mr. Jetton has also served in ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Very Silly Apology

It didn’t get a lot of attention, as well it should not have, but when I heard Japanese giant Mitsubishi was offered an apology for heinous war crimes that took place during World War II, I thought it was an ill-conceived publicity stunt. But, no, in a solemn ceremony last month hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, that is exactly what ... (click for more)