Buffalo's Battle fills UTC staff

Buffalo's Battle fills UTC staff

May 24th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sportscollege

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Head coach Will Wade has called for a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coaching staff meeting Monday morning.

It will be a full house for the first time.

Wade announced the addition of former University of Buffalo player and assistant coach Turner Battle to his staff Thursday.

Former UTC player and interim coach Casey Long and former Queens University of Charlotte head coach Wes Long are the other assistant coaches. Wade is a first-time head coach after being an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth.

"He was somebody that I targeted from the get-go," Wade said of Battle. "He's one of the best in the country at developing guards, and he's a heck of a player himself. It's critical that we have somebody who is good with guards, and Casey Long brings that, and Turner adds another level.

"I was looking for the best fit, and I think this staff fits really well together."

Battle began organizing his office on the fourth floor of McKenzie Arena on Thursday, just a few doors down from Wade's office.

"It was a situation that was impossible to turn down," Battle said. "Coach Wade is one of the up-and-coming coaches and I've spent a lot of time talking with him over the last few years. I knew he'd put together a staff and a program with a family atmosphere. I know at VCU, they preached the same principles we had at Buffalo.

"I'm here to work with the guards, recruit and get the 'Chaos' going."

Battle played for and returned as an assistant after two years of playing professional basketball for Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon. Battle was voted the MAC player of the year in 2005 after leading the Bulls to 23 wins while averaging 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

He then played pro basketball in Estonia and France, the NBDL and the ABA before trading in his basketball shoes for a whistle and a clipboard. Battle, who grew up in Kernersville, N.C., coached at Buffalo for six years. In that time, Wade said, Battle coached nine players who earned some level of All-MAC recognition.

"I'm here to do anything and everything I can to help with the general duties of an assistant coach," said Battle, who scored 1,414 points and had 458 assists in his college career while earning his degree in communications. "I want to recruit and develop and help produce great young men."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.