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Staff photo / Former UTC and NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens speaks during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction event on Aug. 4, 2018, at McKenzie Arena. Owens is one of five inductees for the Southern Conference Hall of Fame in 2020.

The newest class for the Southern Conference Hall of Fame will include former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wide receiver Terrell Owens, who as one of the five honorees for 2020 will become the third Moc to be enshrined by the league.

This year's other inductees are Lynne Agee (UNC Greensboro women's basketball), Eric Breitenstein (Wofford football), Rod Thorn (West Virginia baseball/basketball) and Wayne Tolleson (Western Carolina baseball/football). The SoCon has not announced a date or location for the induction ceremony.

Although best known to the nation for his football prowess, the SoCon's release Wednesday also noted Owens was a member of UTC's basketball and track and field programs during his three years in Chattanooga before being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1996 NFL draft.

The Alexander City, Alabama, native is already a member of the UTC Athletic Hall of Fame (2002) and the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame (2019), and in 2018 he famously decided to take an unprecedented step by eschewing the trip to Canton, Ohio, to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after not being elected his first two years on the ballot.

Instead, he held his own ceremony inside UTC's McKenzie Arena, putting Chattanooga and the Mocs in the national spotlight once again even as his NFL success was celebrated.

"People say I may regret not being in Canton (today) 10, 15, 20 years from now, but I choose not to live in regret," he said at the time. "I will leave a legacy that will leave an imprint on this world forever."

Owens ended his time with the Mocs as their leader in receiving yards (2,230) and catches (144), and his 19 touchdown receptions ranked second, but on that August afternoon at McKenzie, he also said, "When I left Chattanooga, I had no idea what I could become and what was going to happen."

What happened was one of the most prolific careers for a receiver in NFL history as he totaled 15,394 receiving yards and 153 touchdown catches to rank second and third, respectively, in the league's record book. He was a five-time All-Pro, playing for the Philadelphia Eagles — and impressively coming back from injury to make big contributions for them in their Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the New England Patriots — as well as the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in addition to the 49ers.

Owens follows former UTC standouts Regina Kirk (women's basketball) and Shannon Wommack (women's cross country/track and field) into the SoCon Hall of Fame; both were inducted in 2011.

That was the third class and included six inductees after the inaugural 2009 group had 10 and the 2010 class had seven. The 2012 class had five members, and so has every class since. After 2012, the SoCon Hall of Fame switched to inducting a new class every two years.

Compiled by Marty Kirkland. Contact him at mkirkland@timesfreepress.com.

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