Former Lady Mocs' point guard Alicia "Red" Payne says she was shocked when she heard Tuesday that David Blackburn would be stepping down as UTC's athletic director. Blackburn came to Chattanooga at the end of her freshmen year, where the UTC women's basketball would go on to win four-straight Southern Conference regular season titles and tournament titles.

"I was kinda sad, just because he was such a great athletic director and person in general" says Payne. "It just made me kinda sad he was leaving. Obviously we don't know all that is happening with him and his family, but I know that the years he did put into UTC he gave it his best and I know he gave it all he could give. So for me that's all you could ask for from a person. I know that whatever he does next he'll put that same effort and passion into it." 

Payne will soon be starting her second year as a graduate assistant coach for the Lady Mocs. She says during her time as a student-athlete, Blackburn always put the athletes' best interests in mind.

"From the very start, he made it a point to talk to us and ensure us he was going to be here anyway he can. I know a lot of people are only concerned with wins and losses, but to me it felt like he was really concerned with us as people. He was concerned with us thriving on the court with our sports, but also off the court as people. It was real support he showed. He really actually cared about the athletic department."