The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's tennis team is off to another hot start with a 5-2 record this spring. The Mocs are working towards their goal of winning a Southern Conference championship and returning the program to its heyday of the early 1980's.
One of the mainstays of Mocs tennis during its run of eight-straight SoCon titles from 1978-85 is 2012 UTC Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee Scott Zaccaria ('84). Zaccaria twice won SoCon singles championships and was a three-time doubles winner. He was also the 1984 SoCon Player of the Year, the first Moc to take home the league's top individual honor.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Zaccaria was one of the top junior players in the south and was recruited by nearly every school in the region. He turned down a scholarship offer from Auburn to play for head coach Tommy Bartlett and the Mocs.
"I came to UTC because of Tommy Bartlett," said Zaccaria. "I was getting recruited by a lot of schools and had a number of opportunities, but I fell in love with Chattanooga and wanted to play for Coach Bartlett."
Zaccaria jumped into the lineup as a freshman at No. 3, behind senior George Jarck and sophomore Phillip Tuckniss, on a season-opening road swing through Florida. His first match was against the Gators and Colin McAlphin, the No. 1 ranked player from Canada at the time.
"I was really nervous for that first match," recalled Zaccaria. "But once we started, I settled down and played really well."
He went on to defeat McAlphin (6-2, 6-1) in straight sets, embarking on an impressive career over the next four years. The Mocs narrowly missed the upset against Florida in a 5-4 loss, but posted a 22-4 record for the season. Zaccaria won his first SoCon title at No. 3 that season, leading the Mocs to the SoCon team championship for the fourth year in a row.
As a sophomore in 1982, the UTC was again the top team in the league with an 18-7 record. The Mocs narrowly defeated Furman for another SoCon title, and Zaccaria won the first of three-straight doubles trophies with teammate Billy Dean.
Chattanooga was 20-4 in 1983 with Zaccaria won another SoCon doubles championship alongside teammate and now fellow Hall of Famer Orlando Lourenco. Zaccaria posted a 21-3 record in singles during the regular season, playing mostly the No. 2 position.
As a senior in 1984, Zaccaria split time at the top two spots with Lourneco, while the pair teamed up in doubles. Zaccaria went 36-1 in the regular season and tournaments, with his only loss coming in a three-set (6-7, 7-5, 6-0) defeat to South Alabama's James Potion on March 15. Despite that loss, Zaccaria guided the Mocs to an undefeated 21-0 season and another SoCon title.
At the SoCon Championships, Zaccaria won the No. 1 singles draw. He and Lourenco won the No. 2 doubles crown and Zaccaria was named the men's player of the year. The Mocs had a number of big wins that year, including Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and two over Vanderbilt.
"Those were some great teams we had back then and we had a great time playing together," stated Zaccaria. "Coach Bartlett meant a lot of all of us and I look forward seeing him and some of my old teammates this weekend."
Zaccaria will join Coach Bartlett and former teammates Lourenco, Jarck and Tuckniss in the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame when he is inducted on Friday night. He will become the eighth member of the men's tennis program to be enshrined by the athletics department at UTC.
"To get into the Hall of Fame is a great honor," stated Zaccaria. "I was very surprised when I got the word that I was going to be inducted. To be recognized 30 years after playing is a great feeling and I look forward to the weekend in Chattanooga."