published Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Chattanooga men's basketball coach Brent Jolly loses dad

Kenneth Ray Jolly died Sunday at White County Community Hospital in Sparta, Tenn. He was 72.

The father of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach Brent Jolly and former Lady Mocs assistant Kellie Harper was a longtime basketball coach at White County High School, where Brent and Kellie starred. She was inducted into the Sparta school's hall of fame Friday and has her plaque right next to her father's.

UTC coach John Shulman and assistants DeAntoine Beasley and Ricky Cabrera, who like Brent played at Tennessee Tech, planned to drive up for a visitation after practice Tuesday.

Shulman said it's likely that Brent will be on the sideline Thursday night when the Mocs host Davidson.

"Mr. Jolly is a legend up there," Shulman said. "His health wasn't good, but I think it caught them off guard.

"I would bet Mrs. Jolly said, 'Brent, you've got a game Thursday, so let's get all this stuff done so you can be there Thursday."

Kellie's and Brent's younger brother Ross is a former manager for the Lady Mocs. He's in his first year as a women's assistant coach at Tusculum College.

Young reins tight

It's been three years and one coach ago since Georgia Southern had a winning Southern Conference men's basketball record. Now, at 6-3 in league play, the Eagles are in second place in the South Division.

But coach Charlton Young said they're struggling with their success.

"We don't handle it very well at all," he said. "Not only are we young, but we're immature, and that's worse. We're trying to get better at handling success."

It's a complete contrast to last season when Young pumped up anything positive. He's trying to keep his players -- especially the eight underclassmen -- more level-headed.

"I've taken the approach that we have to keep the reins tight because we have an immature team," Young said. "We have to reward them for success very little. It's different."

Davidson and rest

Davidson has emerged as the clear SoCon leader with an 8-0 mark in conference games. has the Wildcats earning a No. 13 seed in its latest NCAA tournament bracket projection.

The other SoCon schools aren't even in the conversation. Only three others have winning league records.

"With the exception of Davidson, it seems to be balanced," Furman coach Jeff Jackson said. "It's going to be interesting to see how the next five weeks go. And it's going to be an extremely exciting tournament."

Injuries adding up

Injuries are starting to add up for teams across the league with Furman losing its top two guards in the last week and College of Charleston losing Anthony Stitt, who was in the running for SoCon freshman of the year.

"You have to figure out a way to keep going and just adjust. You can't make excuses," Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said. "You have to have depth and adjust."

about David Uchiyama...

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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