Rodney Allison is out as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s football coach at the end of the season but will coach the Mocs’ final four games, athletic director Rick Hart told the Times Free Press this morning.
At a 1 p.m. news conference in the Hall of Fame Room at McKenzie Arena, Hart said it was a tough decision for him and an emotional day for people throughout the athletic department. The reason the decision came today, Hart said, boiled down to two major factors.
“Obviously our competitive performance, both the body of work over (the past five) seasons in addition to our first eight games this year, combined with what I believe to be some signs of apathy setting in amongst our fan base and community, were two major reasons for this change,” Hart said.
During a phone interview at about 7 p.m. Monday night, Allison that he was not aware of a pending announcement on his future. Later that evening he and Hart met and and then met again this morning to figure out how best to handle the announcement.
The Mocs’ assistant coaches and players were told of the announcement during meetings between 10 and 11 this morning.
Allison gave an emotional statement when he addressed the media at the news conference and nearly broke into tears when he spoke of his son Sloan, a redshirt-freshman quarterback who has played in seven games this season.
While the wins didn’t come often enough to suit him or anyone else, Allison said, “this program has grown and become better since I’ve been here — I believe that.”
Allison is in his sixth season at UTC and has a record of 17-47, including a 1-7 record this season that includes six losses in a row. All seven of UTC’s losses have been by 24 points or more, including all four Southern Conference games. Its only win came Sept. 6 against Cumberland, an NAIA school.
The Mocs were routed 42-7 by seventh-ranked Elon last Saturday. Allison’s winning percentage of .265 is the lowest of any of the 15 multi-year coaches in the history of the program.
Allison was hired on Dec. 6, 2002, by former UTC athletic director Steve Sloan, who was Allison’s coach at Texas Tech in the mid-1970s.
There was speculation that Allison would be fired at the end of last year’s 2-9 season, but Hart announced the week of the final game that Allison would be allowed to return in 2008, the final year of his contract.
The Mocs are off this Saturday. Their final four-game stretch begins Nov. 1 at Western Carolina.
For more Mocs coverage, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...