Allison era comes to a close for UTC football
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Sloan Allison thought he was ready.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior had seen enough senior days to understand what was about to happen. Still, he was powerless to stop the wave of emotion rushing over him throughout his final day at Finley Stadium.
"I was crying on the bus to the Moc Walk. I was crying during the Moc Walk and when I hugged my mom there," Allison recalled. "Then when I hugged my dad at the middle of the field, that was really special."
Sloan's father, Rodney, has seen more than his fair share of senior days as well, but none quite like this.
The former UTC coach walked out as a proud papa as Sloan's name was called, but also made a point to admire an impressive senior class he helped bring together.
"It was different because your son's out there, but it's also different because most of the guys there you recruited and I had a good connection with them," Rodney said. "That's a good group of kids. There's some good players in that group, but I think there's some better people than there are players."
Maybe none better than Sloan, whose five-year ride in the Blue and Gold was truly unique.
He signed to play for his father out of Boyd-Buchanan in 2007, and took plenty of snaps at quarterback during a forgettable 2008 season that saw the Mocs win just one game. Rodney's contract was not renewed that November, ending his six-year tenure as Chattanooga's head coach.
Sloan stayed committed to UTC, deciding to remain a Moc upon the hiring of Russ Huesman as Rodney's replacement. Huesman couldn't be happier he decided to stay.
Sloan moved to wide receiver in the spring of 2009 and eventually developed into one of the team's most indispensable players. Over the past two years, he's lined up as a wideout, a tight end, an H-back and even at quarterback in Marcus Satterfield's offense.
He's a leader on special teams, calling the signals on punts and holding on extra points and field goals. But maybe more than anything, he's proven to be a positive influence for younger players on the team.
"He knew what his role on the team was and what he needed to do to contribute to this program," Rodney said. "He understands it. He's been around coaching all his life. He understands the pressure, and the X's and O's.
"He just learns and does things maybe a little differently."
Which may be why he experienced last Saturday a little differently than the other 12 seniors in his class.
The final whistle was a bit more biting, and the final seconds of a 28-27 loss to Wofford were a little more fleeting. It marked the end of a journey he and his father faced together.
"You can't prepare for it," Sloan said. "Just the level of emotion that went through my whole body when the clock expired, I've never felt anything like it before. I didn't want to leave the field. I didn't want to leave the locker room.
"It's something that's a part of your life for five years and you've devoted everything to it, and now it's over. It was something that my dad was a part of also, and it just... It get's me every time."