published Saturday, March 10th, 2012

UTC athletic director Rick Hart retains basketball coaching staff

Chattanooga head coach John Shulman talks from the sideline in first half action, as the Butler Bulldogs defeated the Chattanooga Mocs 57-46 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University in Indianapolis Tuesday November 15, 2011. Joe Vitti / The Star
Chattanooga head coach John Shulman talks from the sideline in first half action, as the Butler Bulldogs defeated the Chattanooga Mocs 57-46 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University in Indianapolis Tuesday November 15, 2011. Joe Vitti / The Star
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

John Shulman returned to his regular daily duties Friday afternoon and considered hitting Memo's for lunch.

He'll have daily duties for a while longer.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic director Rick Hart chose Friday to retain Shulman as men's basketball coach after one of the worst seasons in school history.

Hart said he never considered having somebody else take over the Mocs before meeting with Shulman on Thursday and Friday.

"I feel it's in the best interest of the university -- and that's how I always make these decisions -- for John to lead us through this change," Hart said. "We were very much in alignment with what needs to happen and how that should occur."

Hart said he made his decision with the blessing of Dr. Roger Brown, the UTC chancellor.

Shulman has two full seasons remaining on a contract that pays him $138,000 per year, not including $15,000 for radio and television duties.

Hart suggested that he and Shulman spend more time talking about moving forward from an 11-21 season, mostly with regard to academic and administrative advances.

"The old way of doing things, and I don't mean coaching, are changing," Hart said. "We will continue to change and not only adapt to that but position our program ahead of that."

Hart was asked to assess Shulman's career.

"We're just looking ahead," Hart said. "We don't spend much time looking in the rearview mirror. We're excited about the student-athletes that are returning; we're excited about the prospects and recruits that are interested in joining us."

Shulman's UTC record is 132-127 overall, 71-71 in SoCon games and 112-127 against all Division I competition. His teams won the SoCon tournament in 2005 and 2009 and four division titles.

This past season included the first 20-loss record in school history, the first seven-loss streak in the Division I era and the first time without a road win. It ended in he first round of the SoCon tournament -- the first time Shulman was bounced on the opening day.

"We have a very good view on where we want to go, and it's forward, not backward," Shulman said. "We're going back to year number one and we're going to run the program how we want to run the program.

"That's everything from being five minutes early to class, to defending, to rebounding, to player development to recruiting -- to leave no stone unturned on how to run a basketball program."

Following the SoCon tournament loss to Georgia Southern, Shulman headed to Charleston to clear his mind. He returned in time for the funeral of Dr. Carolyn Thompson, wife of Chancellor Brown.

"[Leaving] enters your mind, but that's being a regular human," Shulman said. "Then you get away and think about what you want to do. I'm a fighter. I fight and I ain't quitting."

And he'll be fighting with the same staff of Brent Jolly, Ricky Cabrera and DeAntoine Beasley at his side and under no new restrictions in regard to scheduling or recruiting.

They were all on the road at some point this week but in their McKenzie Arena offices Friday.

"When you walk into a program, you're excited," Shulman said. "I sit here today with that same excitement and talking about recruiting, academics, player development. No regrets -- we're going for it."

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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