Thursday, April 10, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
director David Blackburn gets right to the point when discussing the present
and future of UTC athletics.
He believes in good
groceries, outstanding customer service, quality coaches, staff and
student-athletes and a plan to have the Power C seen nationwide.
“You can’t have a good
meal without good groceries so we have to get back to knowing what good is,”
said Blackburn at Monday’s Chattanooga Quarterback Club luncheon.
After his first year at
UTC, the groceries look good, yet can be improved upon with conference
championships in football, wrestling and women’s basketball, an overall grade
point average of 2.993 in the fall (best fall semester ever) and a big time
apparel contract with Adidas.
Quality People: “I feel
we have quality coaches who have recruited quality student-athletes who in turn
represent the university well in all areas of their lives which is all part of
that imagery of good groceries make a good meal,” Blackburn said.
Four Key Hires: One of
the first items of business on Blackburn’s long “to-do” list was hire football
and basketball operations directors and a strength and conditioning coach.
“Those four hires were
crucial in helping our athletes be in better shape as well as help re-direct
past responsibilities to the new staff members and away from our coaches to free
them up to coach.”
“We are sitting on a
gold mine here in Chattanooga with our athletic department and partnering with
a world-class apparel company such as Adidas gives us a great platform in which
to have the Power C be recognizable worldwide.”
“Branding is very
important to us.”
The Adidas apparel deal
includes all footwear, uniforms and additional clothing worn by the Mocs
student-athletes, coaches and administrators. It will also make Adidas an
official provider of Mocs gear through numerous retail outlets in the area.
Solid Academics: “We
are this close to an overall 3.0 grade point average,” said Blackburn as he
held up his thumb and index finger an inch apart.
“Take out the Harvard’s
and Stanford’s of the world and in terms of graduation rate we are in the
nation’s top 15%.”
The UTC men's cross county team led the nation with a 6.71 GPA, while the UTC women runners had a 3.64 and ranked 18th.
Customer Service and
the Entertainment Dollar: While producing winning programs in a variety of
sports, Blackburn is well aware of the battle the athletic department faces to
put fans in the seats at athletic contests.
“It’s easy to go to a
movie or a high school contest so we have to make it as pain free as possible
to come to our events,” Blackburn stated.
service is vital to our success and we have to continue to improve in this area
during home games whether it is better parking or quicker access into the
venues with a walk up crowd.”
He sees little difference
between good and great as well as good and bad.
“We have to raise the
bar and we are constantly working to do just that.”
“We have a long way to
go to reach some of our goals, but our revenues are up $7-8,000,000 from the
past five years and we want to continue to look for ways to improve our
“There is money to be
raised and I plan to be aggressive in fund raising in my second year here at
A Worthy Cause: Blackburn
believes high quality athletics at the university is a cause worth supporting,
so it is worth raising funds to support our athletes, coaches and teams.
By the end of year two
of the David Blackburn Era, many will again check the quality of the groceries
as well as the quality of the meal itself.
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org