Arth Announces Changes in Coaching Staff - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Arth Announces Changes in Coaching Staff

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( University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football head coach Tom Arth announced changes in his staff today.  Linebackers coach Matt Feeney has been elevated to defensive coordinator, while outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton has added the title of assistant head coach to his duties. 

Feeney is entering his second year with the Mocs and takes over coordinator duties from Tom Kaufman, who left for the same position at Kent State.  Also headed to the Golden Flashes is defensive line coach Brian Cochran, leaving the Mocs with two staff positions to fill. 

These four, along with defensive backs coach Jonathan Cooley, guided the Mocs to a top-25 finish in total defense last season, allowing 324 yards per game.  That number was a paltry 239 yards per outing over the last three games that included wins at No. 8 Samford and at home against ETSU.

"There are very few people who have been more impactful in my coaching career than Matt Feeney," stated Arth. "As the captain of my first team at John Carroll, to a volunteer assistant, graduate assistant and linebackers coach, Matt has played a significant role in our success. 
"His understanding of our defense and his ability to effectively teach it to players and coaches alike has positioned him well for this opportunity, but it is his character and innate leadership abilities that will allow him to flourish in his new role as defensive coordinator. 
"Matt has a rare demeanor and ability to think critically and apply his knowledge in stressful situations. As our defensive coordinator, Matt will also be excellent in recruiting. He is a humble, conscious, and honest man who will earn the trust of student-athletes, family members and school personnel just as he has with all of the players and coaches he has worked with. I'm am so proud of Matt and honored to have the opportunity to promote him to our defensive coordinator position." 
Prior to UTC, Feeney spent three seasons on Arth's staff at his alma mater, John Carroll University.  The Blue Streaks finished in the top-15 in the nation in team defense each of the three years Feeney was on the staff. 

Feeney was a standout linebacker and team captain at John Carroll from 2010-13, earning the Gene Slaughter Most Outstanding Linebacker Award his senior year as the top linebacker in the Ohio Athletic Conference.    
After earning his degree in Marketing in 2014, he immediately stepped in as the linebackers coach.  He went on to coach Kevin Cope and Mason McKenrick to Slaughter Awards, while Jimmy King and Andy Bryan both earned All-OAC recognition. 
At Chattanooga, Feeney led a talented group of linebackers that included seniors Tae Davis and Dale Warren.  Both are scheduled to play in postseason All-Star games over the next few weeks.  Warren is participating in the College Gridiron Showcase in Dallas on Jan. 10, while Davis is playing the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20. 
"I am so proud to announce the promotion of Shelton Felton to Assistant Head Football Coach," said Arth.  "We knew we that we hired a special person and coach in Shelton last spring but the contributions he has made to our program and the confidence, trust and belief that I have found in him have proven to be invaluable.
"Shelton is truly a person who has earned a strong voice within our organization and someone who I believe in to help me make the right decisions to positively impact our players and program."
Felton joined the Mocs last season as the outside linebackers coach, following a successful two years as the head coach at Crisp County High School in Cordele, Ga. 

After a 3-7 start in 2015, Felton's Crisp County squad posted a school record 13-1 mark in 2016.  The Cougars went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time, and advanced to the state semifinals, also a first for the program.  He also coached Markaviest Bryant to the first All-American honors in school history.

A veteran of the Georgia High School ranks, Felton spent two seasons at Colquitt County High School where he was the defensive line coach for the Georgia 6A championship team in 2014.  He also spent three years as the defensive coordinator at Dooley County, coaching future Auburn All-American Montravious Adams.    

He began his career at Crisp County as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator from 2005-09. Felton was a defensive lineman at Troy from 1999-02, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Social Work in 2002 and a Master's Degree in Education in 2008.  He also earned an E.D.S. in Physical Education from Jacksonville State in 2012.

What they are saying about Matt Feeney
"Matt embodies all the special traits of a great coach. He's passionate, bright, humble, and competitive. He was one of the most impactful people at John Carroll as both a player and a coach and truly personified "Our Way." UTC is incredibly fortunate to have him as the leader of their defense."
- Brandon Staley - OLB Coach - Chicago Bears 
"After getting to know Matt now for a couple of years and talking football with him multiple times, it's easy to see that he has an excellent football mind. He grasps how important it is to be able to play fast as a defensive unit and what to do to keep an offense off balance. I think he will be an excellent play-caller and he will continue to come up with sound ideas that put his players in the best spots possible to be able to make plays. He is an excellent communicator, he won't flinch and is mentally tough. Great hire by head coach Tom Arth."
- Jonathan Gannon - DB Coach - Minnesota Vikings
"I had Matt Feeney his first year of coaching and I knew right away he was a star. He is an extremely intelligent football coach who has a natural feel for the game. In addition, he is a great teacher and communicator who cares about and builds relationships with his players. I have 100% confidence Matt will do a phenomenal job in leading the Mocs defense."
- Chris Shula - LB Coach – Los Angeles Rams
"With the promotion of Matt Feeney to defensive coordinator, Chattanooga football is getting one of the most diligent workers and brightest young minds in college football and his impact on their defense will be recognized immediately. Congrats and best of luck to Coach Feeney and the Mocs."
- Frank Ross - Pro Scout - New England Patriots

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