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Tom Arth

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Tom Arth was named the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program's 23rd head coach Monday, the school officially announced.

The Times Free Press and some other outlets reported the decision late Sunday evening. Arth will be introduced at the Stadium Club at Finley Stadium today at noon.

Arth comes from NCAA Division III power John Carroll, which went 40-8 in his four seasons as the head coach. He was named the Division III national coach of the year this season after a 12-2 record and the program's first Ohio Athletic Conference championship since 1994 and its first outright OAC title since 1989.

To do so, the Blue Streaks had to release the stranglehold of Mount Union, which had won 24 consecutive titles. John Carroll did that with a 31-28 win at Mount Union in the regular-season finale on Nov. 12, ending the Raiders' string of 112 consecutive regular-season victories.

"This is an incredibly special moment for my family and I," Arth said in a press release. "(Wife) Lauren and I are so grateful to David Blackburn and Dr. Steve Angle for believing in me and for the humbling opportunity to carry on the standard of excellence and success that has been established within the Mocs football program.

"I am confident that our team will make the Chattanooga community proud and that our players will be well-equipped to achieve success following graduation."

Arth was a successful quarterback at John Carroll and then spent three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2003-05), where he was a backup to Peyton Manning, and spent some time in NFL Europe. He was on the Green Bay Packers' preseason roster in 2006.

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He started his coaching career at John Carroll in 2010, assisting in a variety of roles before becoming head coach in 2013. The four seasons before he took over as head coach, the Blue Streaks were 19-21. They averaged 10 wins during his four seasons.

His teams made three Division III playoff appearances, advancing to the semifinals this season.

"When we started this search, we were looking for proven winners who could continue the rise of Chattanooga football," vice chancellor and athletic director David Blackburn said in a release. "Tom Arth quickly separated himself from an impressive pool of candidates. He is an outstanding man of character, knows football and will be a tremendous influence on our student-athletes."

The Times Free Press reported Sunday that Arth would bring defensive coordinator Brandon Staley with him, and Arth confirmed that Monday to The News-Herald in northeastern Ohio.

Staley, who is a finalist for the footballscoop.com coach of the year award, comes to UTC with a wealth of college experience. He started his career as a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois and spent a season at St. Thomas before moving to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, where in two seasons as associate head coach and defensive coordinator he coached nine Division I signees — most notably Tennessee standout Cordarrelle Patterson, who became a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

Staley spent the 2012 season as a defensive graduate assistant with the Vols in charge of inside linebackers as well as a special teams assistant.

He spent the 2013 season as the defensive coordinator at John Carroll, moved to James Madison as defensive coordinator in 2014 and returned to John Carroll in 2015. His defenses have shown the ability to adjust to personnel, as he ran a 4-2-5 defense in 2013, allowing 9.1 points per game, a 4-3 defense in 2015 (13.6 points allowed) and a 3-4 this season, when the Streaks allowed 12.6 points per game, which ranked fourth in the country.

His 2016 defense also ranked in the top 15 in five other major categories: total defense (third, 218.0 yards per game), team pass efficiency defense (sixth, 91.64), third-down percentage (seventh, .257), passing yards allowed (eighth, 139.7) and rushing defense (13th, 78.3).

Sources told The News-Herald that Arth also was planning to bring defensive line coach Brian Cochran, offensive line coach Nick Hennessey and linebackers coach Matt Feeney with him, although Arth would not confirm those Monday.

A source told the Times Free Press that along with offensive coordinator Jeff Durden and defensive coordinator Adam Braithwaite, offensive line coach Adam Ross, defensive line coach Carey Bailey and cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Rod West will be headed to Richmond with former UTC head coach Russ Huesman, who was 59-37 in eight seasons with the Mocs.

Former linebackers coach Rusty Wright, a candidate for the UTC job along with Durden, has accepted an offer to be the linebackers coach at Football Bowl Subdivision program Georgia State.

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

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