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Mocs Mission Review - UTC Student-Athletes Thrived in the Classroom in 2008-09
Director of Athletics Rick Hart with men's tennis graduates Badr Bouabdellah and Pavel Vostrikov at the 2009 Spring Commencement.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com

Part of the mission of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics department is to guide, encourage and support our Student-Athletes in their quest for comprehensive excellence - academically, athletically and socially.  The 2008-09 season was an amazing year for the Mocs in all three areas and, over the next two weeks, GoMocs.com will take a look back at the accomplishments of the student-athletes at UTC in the last year. 


This week, we look at how the Mocs performed in the classroom and their honors and achievements off the field.  The Mocs put up some impressive numbers that had nothing to do with wins and losses.  Their performance in the classroom was unprecedented and celebrated throughout a very successful season. 


“I would like to congratulate all of our student-athletes on their academic successes over the past year,” stated Director of Athletics Rick Hart.  “Their hard work and dedication to their academic pursuits reflects the commitment to comprehensive excellence that we stress in Mocs athletics; and their accomplishments should be recognized and celebrated.”


Far too often, the on-field achievements of today’s college athletes overshadow their amazing feats in other areas.  There is also the false perception that success in one area means a sacrifice in the other.  This is certainly not the case at UTC. 


Below is a compilation of the many wonderful academic achievements that were celebrated on GoMocs.com throughout the year.  These accolades were earned in the classroom in the same year UTC won six SoCon titles, saw a school-record 10 teams represented in the postseason, had eight Mocs named Southern Conference Athlete/Freshman of the Year, claimed 14 individual SoCon Championship or MVP honors and saw the entire athletics program rank in the top-100 in all of NCAA Division I for overall athletic performance in the Learfield Director’s Cup. 


“Our student-athletes deserve the credit for their hard work,” continued Hart.  “However, they had the help of a very talented group of faculty, coaches and support staff committed to guiding, supporting and encouraging them along the way.  We also need to recognize the influence of the Mocs Club members on our student-athletes, whose donations help to underwrite the costs of athletic scholarships at UTC.”



Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List

The Mocs kicked off the year with a solid fall semester that saw 110 earning a spot on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for having a 3.0+ semester grade-point-average.  There were 79 Mocs on the Dean’s List in the fall for posting a 3.2+ g.p.a.  A total of 10 student-athletes scored a perfect 4.0 g.p.a. for the semester.  These student-athletes were all honored at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Elon on Feb. 12. 


4.0 Grade-Point-Average for the Fall 2008 Semester (10)

Eric Forsman – Men’s Golf – Senior

Maria Juliana Loza – Women’s Golf – Freshman

Susanne Mader – Women’s Soccer - Freshman 

Adam Miller – Football – Freshman

David Moore – Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field – Junior

Jessica Scott - Volleyball - Freshman 

Emily Stuart – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field – Junior

Katie Taylor – Women’s Golf – Junior

Shelley Taylor – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field – Junior

Phillip Walliser – Football – Freshman


As well as the Mocs performed in the fall, their numbers for the 2009 spring semester were even better.  A total of 116 Mocs - 46% of all student-athletes - were named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.  Equally impressive was the fact that 83 Mocs - 33% of all student-athletes - were named to the Dean’s List and 18 student-athletes posted a perfect 4.0 g.p.a during the 2009 spring semester.


4.0 Grade-Point-Average for the Spring 2009 Semester (18)

Serena Allen – Women’s Soccer – Sophomore

Tiffany Baker – Softball – Sophomore

Courtney Barnes – Volleyball – Sophomore

Sarah Bass – Volleyball – Senior

Michael Carter – Football – Freshman

Eric Forsman – Men’s Golf – Senior

Monika Groppe – Women’s Track & Field - Sophomore

Marlee Jenkins – Women’s Soccer – Junior

Beata Knizat – Women’s Tennis - Senior

Susanne Mader – Women’s Soccer – Senior

LaCondra Mason – Women’s Basketball – Senior

David Moore – Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field – Junior

Kori Penland – Women’s Basketball – Freshman

Grace Robinette – Women’s Tennis - Sophomroe

Jessica Scott – Volleyball – Freshman

Katie Taylor – Women’s Golf – Junior

Shelley Taylor – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field – Junior

Natalie Wennerstrom – Women’s Track & Field - Freshman


The student-athletes who posted a 4.0 g.p.a. in either semester achieved comprehensive excellence in the classroom.  What is even more amazing is the fact that of the 28 4.0’s last year, 18 were earned by student-athletes during their competition season.


“Collectively, our student-athletes’ g.p.a.’s seem to get better and better each year,” stated Hart.  “They exemplify one of our core values of continuous improvement in the way they raise the bar each semester.  I am proud of the work they have done to this point, but will always challenge them to keep getting better.”


2008-09 Graduates

The ultimate individual academic goal for all of the Mocs student-athletes is to earn a degree.  UTC had 24 student-athletes accomplish that feat in the last year.  Eight Mocs earned their degrees in the fall while another 16 walked across the stage following the spring semester. 


Fall Graduates

Kelsey Amundson – Volleyball – Early Childhood Education

Alex Anderson – Women’s Basketball – Psychology

Anthony Brodnax – Football – Business Marketing

Ashlan Clarkson – Softball – Sport Administration

Brooke Hand – Women’s Basketball – K-12 Health and Exercise Pedagogy

Curtis Jeffries – Football – Sport Administration

Malachi McGee – Football – Human Services Management

Mitchell Meadows – Football – Criminal Justice


Spring Graduates

Raeshon Ball – Football – Health and Human Performance

Sara Bass – Volleyball – Exercise Science, Health and Leisure Studies

Badr Bouabdellah – Men’s Tennis – Business Administration

Jamie Dinkins – Track & Field - Biology

Nicchaeus Doaks – Men’s Basketball - Psychology

Joshua Edmundson – Wrestling – Sociology and Anthropology

Jamie Engel – Volleyball – Health and Human Performance

Zach Ferrell - Men’s Basketball – Business Administration

Eric Forsman – Men’s Golf – Economics

T.J. Hannah – Wrestling – Health and Human Performance

Beata Knizat - Women’s Tennis – Business Administration

Sabrina Lefort - Track & Field – Health and Human Performance

Kyle McKee – Wrestling – Health and Human Performance

Erin Ogan - Women’s Basketball – Business Administration

Tara Tembey – Softball – Health and Human Performance

Pavel Vostrikov – Men’s Tennis – Economics


Many of the Mocs student-athletes graduated with honors in the fall and spring.  Kelsey Amundson, Jamie Dinkins, Zach Ferrell, Eric Forsman and Beata Knizat all graduated Magna Cum Laude in their respective programs.  Sabrina Lefort and Pavel Vostrikov both walked with Cum Laude honors.     


“The athletics department was well represented at both the fall and spring commencement ceremonies,” added Hart.  “Seeing them receive their diplomas is the culmination of why we are involved in collegiate athletics, to prepare students for meaningful and productive lives.” 


Individual Academic Honors

The Southern Conference took note of UTC’s success in the classroom and handed out 57 Academic All-SoCon honors in the fall, winter and spring to UTC student-athletes during the last year.  In order to earn Academic All-SoCon recognition, student-athletes must be in at least their second year at the institution, have a 3.2+ g.p.a. and compete in 50% of their team’s contests. 


Some of the top individual academic honors included track & field sophomore Chris Berry and volleyball sophomore Courtney Barnes representing the Mocs on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams.  ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honorees are selected from a pool that includes all Division I schools in the region.  Student-athlete must have at least a 3.3 g.p.a. to be eligible for consideration.  Berry won the SoCon’s 5000M race at both the indoor and outdoor championships


Freshman Jason McCroskey was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association national All-Academic squad.  He finished his first year at UTC as a SoCon Champion, NCAA qualifier all while posting a 3.6 g.p.a. in his first year of college. 


The Dayle May Award is presented each year by Dayle May Jewelers and goes to the male and female seniors with the highest cumulative g.p.a.  Zack Ferrell of the men’s basketball team and Beata Knizat of the women’s tennis squad were this year’s recipients.  They both graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Business Administration.  Ferrell finished with a 3.798 g.p.a. while Knizat graduated with a 3.86 g.p.a.


Two Mocs were among the top honorees at the 2009 Spring Commencement Ceremonies.  Men’s golfer Eric Forsman was elected to the Alpha Society as one of the top Economics graduates in the class of 2009.  Track & Field’s Jamie Dinkins was a University Honors Scholar and earned the Highest Honors in Biology award for her project:  A Morphological Analysis of a “Confounding” Population of Castanea in Northwest Georgia.


“All of these individuals should be commended for their academic careers at UTC,” continued Hart.  “They have been, and will continue to be, the type of representatives we want involved with our athletic program.”


Team Academic Honors

The Mocs had six teams post a 3.0 g.p.a. for the 2008 fall semester led by the cross country women’s 3.47.  Women’s golf was right behind with a 3.44 while women’s tennis had a 3.28.  Women’s track & field posted a 3.183 while men’s golf finished with a 3.02 in the fall.  Women’s basketball had an even 3.0 in the fall. 


Women’s cross country posted their fall g.p.a. during a very successful and long competition season.  They able to maintain their high standards in the classroom while winning their third-straight Southern Conference title and advancing to the NCAA Regionals.


Chattanooga topped its fall performance with seven teams earning a 3.0 g.p.a. in the 2009 spring semester.  Women’s track & field led the way with a 3.49 followed by women’s golf with a 3.46.  Women’s tennis had a 3.33 while volleyball was impressive with a 3.24.  Men’s tennis improved to a 3.18 and women’s basketball bumped up to a 3.16.  Men’s track & field rounded out the teams with a 3.0 g.p.a, recording a 3.02 for the spring semester.


Six of the seven Mocs teams with a 3.0 in the spring were also in the middle of their competition season.  Women’s golf and women’s basketball both advanced to the postseason while maintaining their high academic standards throughout the semester. 


Both the men’s and women’s track & field and cross country teams were awarded All-Academic by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.  The women's track & field team posted the highest g.p.a. in the nation in 2008-09.


“I am amazed at how well some of our teams did during their competition season,” said Hart.  “It shows that our athletes are committed to being students first and have the support from their coaches they need to succeed in the classroom and in their respective sports.”

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