The first year of the Tom Arth era has come to an end, and for the first time in their careers, the UTC seniors will not be playing in the post-season.. Despite the long season though, their final chapter is only a small part of their story.
"These seniors, I'll never forget them" says an emotional Tom Arth. "What they have given to me, what they have given to each other and this program, I won't ever forget."
A new coach, a new team, and a new system all helped make up the next era of UTC football. But despite all the unknowns, no one expected the Mocs to struggle as they much as they did.
The Mocs were quickly plagued with suspensions and injuries, forcing Chattanooga to deal with all kinds of adversity. But instead of the throwing in the towel, UTC finished the season strong, upsetting No.8 Samford, and closing out with a win over ETSU.
"We sent ourselves off with a great game" says Ridgeland grad and UTC senior Darrell Bridges. "I love these seniors and I love these young guys who helped us send us off with a win. I can't thank them enough, I can't thank the program enough. I'm just glad to be back home, and I'm glad they accepted me to come back home and it was a great all around team win."
This senior class graduates with the fourth-most wins over a four-year period, including two SoCon Championships and three-straight playoff appearances. Even though their final year ended sooner than they had hoped, they found success in other places.
"It's been a blessing to have the success that we've had" says senior defensive back Lucas Webb. "In the same way, just looking at a bigger picture, this is just really good in life. It's awesome when you have fun and win rings and things like that. But you know, you really grow when things are hard and I really think that shows your true character."
"We've definitely faced a lot of adversity, the most since I have been here" says Tae Davis, senior linebacker. "But it made a lot of guys more mature, and you learn a lot about yourself and about your teammates and the guys right beside you."
While the 2017 season will be remembered as one of the program's darker years, the future remains bright.
"This team is going to be really good in the next few years" exclaims Bridges. "They got a great leader in coach Arth, and the seniors that are going to step up next year and those young guys. The freshmen class is going to be great, But going forward I definitely see some more conference rings, and I see a national championship appearance. They are definitely going to be great in the future."