Three UTC football coaches fired

Three UTC football coaches fired

November 21st, 2018 by Gene Henley in Breaking News

From left, UTC assistant coaches Nick Hennessey and Greg Harbaugh Jr. talk during warmups before a home game against Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 27 at Finley Stadium. Harbaugh, who coached receivers, Hennessey, who coached offensive linemen, and offensive coordinator Justin Rascati have been fired, Mocs coach Tom Arth confirmed to the Times Free Press on Wednesday.

From left, UTC assistant coaches Nick Hennessey and...

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

UTC football coach Tom Arth questions an official's call during the Mocs' game at Western Carolina on Oct. 13.

UTC football coach Tom Arth questions an official's...

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Tom Arth confirmed Wednesday to the Times Free Press that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Justin Rascati, receivers coach Greg Harbaugh Jr. and offensive line coach Nick Hennessey have been let go.

The Mocs are coming off a 6-5 season in Arth's second year with the program. Their defense was in the top three in the Southern Conference in most statistical categories, but the offense ranked last in the league in scoring (21.5 points per game) and total yards per game (343.9) and was eighth in rushing (98.4 yards per game).

Those were only slight improvements from Arth's first season, when the Mocs averaged 17.7 points, 267.6 total yards and 78.1 rushing yards, leading to a 3-8 record despite having a defense that led the league in yards allowed per game.

Rascati spent the 2016 season as Tennessee Tech's offensive coordinator before working the past two years with the Mocs. He coached Cole Copeland to 2017 SoCon all-freshman honors and oversaw the development of Nick Tiano, who threw for 2,699 yards and 15 touchdowns with just six interceptions as a junior this year.

Hennessey came to UTC with Arth from John Carroll University, and during his time in Chattanooga he had back-to-back centers named second-team all-conference in Josh Cardiello and Noah Ramsey. Another UTC lineman, Cole Strange, was a Football Championship Subdivision Freshman All-American in 2017 and a second-team all-conference selection in 2018.

In Harbaugh's one year with the program, sophomore Bryce Nunnelly was named to the all-conference first team after making 79 catches for 1,237 yards and seven touchdowns. Wil Young had his best college season with 524 yards on 46 catches, while senior Joseph Parker (40 catches, 437 yards) and running back Tyrell Price (42 catches, 278 yards) also ranked in the top 10 in catches among SoCon players.

"Making changes on our staff was a very difficult decision, but I feel it was in the best interest of our football program," Arth said. "In order to move our team forward, I felt a change was necessary. I am very grateful for the hard work and dedication to our program that all of the coaches who have worked at UTC have exhibited throughout their time on our staff."

The Mocs are expected to return nine offensive starters next season, with Parker and Young the only departures.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.