Wright named Mocs foot­ball head coach

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - From press re­lease

Univer­sity of Ten­nessee at Chat­tanooga Vice Chan­cel­lor and Di­rec­tor of Ath­let­ics Mark Whar­ton re­cently an­nounced that Rusty Wright has been of­fered and ac­cepted the po­si­tion of head foot­ball coach at UTC.

A 22-year vet­eran of the col­le­giate coach­ing ranks, Wright is a 1996 grad­u­ate of UTC with a de­gree in Sports Ad­min­is­tra­tion. He was a four-year let­ter win­ner for the Mocs foot­ball team and had two stints as an as­sis­tant coach at UTC.

“I am ex­tremely ex­cited to an­nounce Rusty Wright as the next head coach of Chat­tanooga Foot­ball,” stated Whar­ton. “Once again, our pro­gram, Univer­sity and com­mu­nity at­tracted an out­stand­ing can­di­date pool.

“Rusty’s ex­pe­ri­ence and suc­cess at the FCS level made him a log­i­cal can­di­date for our job. It was his vi­sion, pas­sion and com­mit­ment to UTC that con­vinced us that he was the per­fect fit for the long-term suc­cess of Chat­tanooga Foot­ball. I can’t wait to get started work­ing with him to bring cham­pi­onships back to Chat­tanooga.” Wright shared that pas­sion. “I can’t tell you how ex­cited I am to come back to Chat­tanooga,” stated Wright. “It is my alma mater, it is my home and it is a place I care deeply about. I am very hon­ored for the chance to lead our foot­ball pro­gram and I would like to thank Mark Whar­ton, Dr. Steve An­gle and ev­ery­one else in­volved for this op­por­tu­nity.

“There is a solid foun­da­tion for suc­cess with some great stu­dent-ath­letes in our pro­gram. I want to build on that in a way that con­tin­ues to in­still pride in our stu­dent-ath­letes, our Univer­sity, alumni and com­mu­nity. More im­por­tantly, I want to do it for the long haul.”

Wright spent the last two sea­sons on Shawn El­liot’s staff at Geor­gia State where he coached the in­side lineback­ers, spe­cial teams and served as the Pan­thers’ re­cruit­ing co­or­di­na­tor. They guided the Geor­gia State to the 2017 Au­to­na­tion Cure Bowl Cham­pi­onship.

In his first year with the Pan­thers, the 2017 GSU de­fense set sea­son records for fewest points per game (24.8), fewest rush­ing yards per game (136.4), fewest yards per rush­ing at­tempt (4.1) and most sacks (24).

Prior to that, Wright was a mem­ber of Russ Hues­man’s staff at UTC dur­ing one of the most suc­cess­ful runs in school his­tory. He was the lineback­ers coach and spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor for four sea­sons (2013-2016). UTC won three straight South­ern Con­fer­ence ti­tles and made three con­sec­u­tive FCS play­off ap­pear­ances dur­ing his time in the Scenic City.

In­cluded in those play­off berths was a trip to the quar­ter­fi­nals in 2014. There were also four con­sec­u­tive sea­sons of eight or more wins.

In 2016, Wright coached Al­lAmer­ica line­backer Nake­vion Leslie. Dur­ing his ten­ure at UTC, five lineback­ers earned first-team all-con­fer­ence honors, while punt re­turner Tommy Hud­son, tu­tored by Wright in 2014, earned All-amer­ica recog­ni­tion. Be­fore re­turn­ing to UTC, Wright worked two years help­ing build a new pro­gram at NAIAmem­ber Rein­hardt Univer­sity in Waleska, Ga., where he was the de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

Wright served four years (20052008) as an as­sis­tant at Mi­ami ( Ohio). In 2007, the Mi­ami de­fense led the Mid-amer­i­can Con­fer­ence in rush­ing de­fense, to­tal de­fense, scor­ing de­fense and quar­ter­back sacks. The Red Hawks won MAC East ti­tles in 2005 and 2007.

In 2004, Wright served as the de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at But­ler. He also spent one sea­son coach­ing de­fen­sive line at Gard­ner-webb (2009), and one year as the lineback­ers coach at Fur­man (2010).

Wright was a four-year let­ter­man at Chat­tanooga from 19921995. He caught more than 50 passes as a tight end in his ca­reer, play­ing on of­fen­sive units that in­cluded fu­ture NFL play­ers Ter­rell Owens, Jerry El­li­son and Mar­rio Grier.

He be­gan his coach­ing ca­reer on the Mocs staff, serv­ing seven sea­sons (1996-2002) in var­i­ous roles, coach­ing the lineback­ers, tack­les, tight ends, spe­cial teams and the ju­nior var­sity squad.

The na­tive of Pet­ti­coat Junc­tion, S.C., Wright is mar­ried to the for­mer Kel­ley Black, who was a vol- ley­ball let­ter win­ner at UTC. The cou­ple has one daugh­ter, Madi­son, a bas­ket­ball player at Bel­mont.

Sea­son ticket de­posits for the 2019 sched­ule are avail­able for $50. For­mer let­ter win­ners can sup­port the pro­gram by join­ing the C Club. In­for­ma­tion on all other ways to sup­port the Chat­tanooga Ath­let­ics pro­gram is avail­able on the Mocs Club tab on Go­mocs. com or by call­ing 423-425-4233.

/ Go­mocs.com

For­mer UTC player and one-time UTC as­sis­tant coach Rusty Wright is re­turn­ing to Chat­tanooga as the new head coach of the Mocs.

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