Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Feb 21, 2011 - Dr. Frederick O'Bear, former chancellor of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, cheers on the Mocs Monday night at McKenzie Arena. A crowd of over 5,000 watched the Mocs lead the Paladins from start to finish.
The "Black-Out" turned out like hitting blackjack.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic department scrambled in less than a week to pull together a "Black-Out" promotion that resulted in the largest crowd of the last two seasons in the stands and perhaps helped propel the Mocs to a 75-59 win over Furman on Monday night.
"I think it worked out well. It had the intended effect. Our marketing staff gets the credit," athletic director Rick Hart said. "People are talking about it today in the community and on campus, and maybe it impacted the game.
"Success. It was a success."
Fans arrived early with the promise of free T-shirts to the first 3,000 in attendance and a voucher for a Coca-Cola product, popcorn and a hot dog on the house to all guests.
There were more people in the stands 15 minutes before tipoff Monday than during the first half of some nonconference games this year. Official attendance was 5,107.
"The atmosphere was great," Mocs coach John Shulman said. "Everybody was pulling for us and they gave us support and it was rocking and rolling in here, and hopefully we paid them all back with a good performance."
Hart will meet with the parties who made it happen -- including Aramark, which handled the concessions -- to see how it went well in addition to correcting the hiccups.
"I certainly think we'll do some variation of it," said Hart, who had the $9,000 in the marketing budget for free shirts. "Whether it's on a larger scale, or smaller, you have to provide the service people expect.
"There was enough positive response that we'll do something in that form or fashion again."
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David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...
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