Four days before Thursday's season opener against Glenville State, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team already had something to celebrate Monday. It was a victory of spirit for a struggling program that for more than a decade has had a big stadium and a small fan base.
Mocs season-ticket sales at Finley Stadium broke the record of 2,300 that was set in 1997, the program's first season at the 20,668-seat off-campus facility.
By the time the ticket office closed, 84 season tickets had been sold Monday, pushing the total to 2,343, according to director of ticket sales Brian DeWine.
"I am excited about our excitement -- it's pretty neat," first-year coach Russ Huesman said. "Everybody likes us right now, but we've got to show (the fans) that they're paying their money for a good product."
Only 1,271 season tickets were sold in 2008, when the Mocs went 1-11 in Rodney Allison's last season as coach.
"If I had been asked or tried to project where we might end up this year ... I expected to do better," athletic director Rick Hart said, "but I don't know that there was an expectation that we'd break the all-time record at Finley Stadium."
Total tickets issued for the opener is 5,330, DeWine said.