The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Lupton Renaissance Fund Update


University to Begin its 100th Year of Football

UTC kicked off the 2003 football season and its 100th year of football when Athletics Director Steve Sloan and Head Coach Rodney Allison unveiled the school's Century of Football logo to be used this season. Seniors James Clark and Blake Kirkland also modeled the team's new uniforms at the UTC Alumni sponsored event.

The uniforms use more of the color white in the blue and gold color scheme, and the jerseys have the word "Chattanooga" emblazoned across the front. The gold pants have a wide navy blue stripe down the sides, as opposed to the two-stripe version from last year's pants. A single blue stripe down the center of the gold helmet matches the stripe on the pants.

This year marks the 100th year of football at the University, and UTC and the community will hold a season-long celebration commemorating the occasion.

The University kicked off intercollegiate competition in the sport of football with its first official game, Oct. 29, 1904.

The Century of Football celebration has several events planned throughout the season. The Century of Football Gala will be held Sept. 12 in the Chattanooga Choo Choo Ball Room. A special dinner and program is open to the public, and the UC/UTC All-Century Football Team will be presented.

The All-Century Team will be selected from fans’ nominations and will consist of 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, a punter, a place kicker, a return man and a head coach.

A special commemorative ticket will be produced, and an exclusive exhibit on the history of Chattanooga Football will be on display from August through December at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. There are also plans for every available former football player and coach to return to campus and join each other on the Finley Stadium field for the Homecoming Game, Oct. 4 against Wofford.

A Look at the Team Through Head Coach Rodney Allison’s Eyes

Allison admits his job this year will be challenging. The Mocs lost nine straight games last year to open the season before winning two of the last three and finish 2-10.

While the squad will be without the services of All-America linebacker Josh Cain and quarterback Ryan McCann, Allison does have some talent with which to work. Senior receiver Jason Jones led the Southern Conference in touchdown catches in 2002 with 10 and was a Second-Team All-SoCon selection. Jones joined center Chris Cook and place kicker Patrick Shutters on an All-Southeast Region Team. Utility player Jeremy Grier led the league in all-purpose yardage and was fourth in the SoCon in receptions.

The quarterback position will be a question mark this season. McCann was a kind of one-hit wonder for the Mocs. He transferred to UTC from UCLA for his senior season and won the starting job at quarterback. In the old regime’s Air Raid offense, McCann stood second in the conference in passing yards and ranked 30th nationally with 210 yards per game.

When McCann went down with a shoulder injury early in the season, Justin Barnes took over the controls. Barnes, a senior, has seen various degrees of action over the last two seasons. Last season, Barnes completed 53.2 percent of his pass attempts (50-for-93) with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Unfortunately, the sure incumbent at signal caller will serve as a student assistant this season because an injury has pulled him from the field.

Sophomore Kurtis Koester and freshman Matthew Lopez, both of whom redshirted last season, will battle for the first-string quarterback job. Lopez was named the starter following spring drills.

“We are OK right now at quarterback,” Allison said. “I feel that we have two or three players who can be effective in our offense. We will be as good on offense as what our quarterbacks are capable of doing.”

For a broader look at the 2003 season, visit www.gomocs.com