For former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football standout Josh Cain, the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame is a family affair. This weekend, he joins his father-in-law, former UTC men's golfer Gibby Gilbert, as one of the 188 enshrined by the Mocs.
"It is honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," stated Cain. "But to join my father-in-law, someone who I look up to and hold in the highest regards, makes it even more special. I know what the Hall of Fame means to him and it is going to mean just as much, if not more, to me."
Cain was an All-American linebacker at UTC from 1999-02. He is second on the Mocs' all-time tackles list with 511 and was a member of the UTC Football All-Century Team. However, he may be best-known for his NCAA-record 30 tackles against The Citadel on Nov. 3, 2001.
"They ran the ball a lot that game," recalled Cain. "They had a big, strong running back (Nate Mahoney) and he seemed to come right at me every play. I was just out there doing my job and trying to make plays. I knew I had a lot of tackles, but it wasn't until later in the week when (assistant coach) Jimmy Lindsey told me that I had 30 that I realized it."
"It looked like 42 from the sideline," UTC head coach Donnie Kirkpatrick told the Chattanooga Times Free Press after the game. "He was everywhere. It was unbelievable."
The Mocs eventually lost to the Bulldogs 20-17 in double-overtime, so there was not much celebration of his accomplishment. "There wasn't much else said about it, we just moved on to the next game," said Cain. Regardless, it was still an amazing number that hasn't been topped by anyone in the Football Championship Subdivision since.
Finishing with 144 tackles, his junior campaign was certainly celebrated after the season. It was the second year in a row he led the team in total stops and was the fourth-highest total in school history. That earned him second-team All-American honors from Football Gazette. It also put a target on his chest and made him a focus of opposing offenses.
"After that game, I knew other teams started focusing on me," said Cain. "It made it tough, but we had some good players on our team. I was lucky to play with great linebackers and we were all capable of making a lot of tackles."
Despite being a marked man after earning All-American status, Cain still put up unprecedented numbers as a senior in 2002. He logged at least 10 stops in all 12 games and led the nation with a UTC-record 192 tackles.
Following his senior year, Cain was named first team All-Southern Conference and was a consensus second-team All-American. In 2003, UTC celebrated its 100th year of football by including Cain on its All-Century team. He was the youngest player named to the 26-man squad.
"This is a great way end to my career," added Cain. "To be an All-American and to make the All-Century Team were tremendous honors. To now be in the Hall of Fame is an unbelievable cap to my time at UTC. I am truly honored and look forward to the weekend."