The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team lost one of its best fans last Saturday morning when Tina Harr, the mother of former All-Southern Conference left tackle and current student assistant Chris Harr, died after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Chris was in the coaches' box during the Mocs' 20-13 win over Samford last Saturday, and he was at Monday's practice at Finley Stadium.
"My dad [John] and I talked and we believed that she would want me to go," he said of coaching Saturday. "It was really hard for me, but it was good to see everybody. ... It was tough, but I got through it."
Always interested and enthusiastic, during her son's playing days (2007-10) Tina often would stop by practice at Scrappy Moore Field while exercising on the Riverwalk. Mocs coach Russ Huesman said he noticed how she'd watch for a while, say hello to a bunch of people and then get going again.
"She was pretty cool," Huesman with a smile.
Chris said she didn't miss a game during his UTC career.
"She really loved the Mocs and everything they stood for," he said, adding that the support he's received the past few days has meant a lot to him. "Everybody's come up to me from around the Mocs Nation and offered condolences for me and my family. I've really appreciated it."
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Nov. 2 at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Signal Mountain.
UTC doesn't ordinarily practice on Mondays, but because it is fall break and classes don't resume until Wednesday, the Mocs (4-3, 3-1 SoCon) got Sunday off and will get four straight days of practice in while preparing for No. 2 Georgia Southern (6-1, 5-1).
After seven games in eight weeks, Huesman said a full day off Sunday, with no practice or classes, was very valuable. And by not doing any team activities Sunday, UTC will have some more time this week to prepare for the Eagles' visit to Finley Stadium.
"This will give us an extra hour and 15 minutes of prep time," he said.
No small thing when you're preparing for the Eagles' option offense and stout defense.
UTC is now ranked seventh in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense (293.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 14 in scoring defense (18.3 papg). Georgia Southern is No. 2 in total defense (274.7) and No. 4 in scoring defense (14.4). ... The Mocs remain last in the SoCon in scoring offense (24.0 ppg) and total offense (336.7).
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.