The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team’s list of 2015-16 accomplishments is lengthy. It was a historic season.
- School Record 29 wins.
- 11th NCAA Tournament Appearance (1st since 2009).
- 11th Southern Conference Regular Season Championship (1st since 1994).
- 11th SoCon Tournament Title (1st since 2009).
- 1st Power 5 win (at Georgia & at Illinois) since 2004 (Tennessee).
- Three top-level wins in a season (at UGA, at Illinois & at Dayton) for the first time in school history.
Do the math and one of the easiest decisions Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletic David Blackburn has made is adding two years to coach Matt McCall‘s contract.
“There is not a big secret to all of this,” Blackburn stated. “You try to hire good people, give them all the resources you can to be successful and let them work. We had great confidence in who we hired a year ago, and that never wavered.
“This is in recognition of him and his staff’s great work in equipping our student-athletes for success.”
For his part, McCall was quick to deflect praise.
“All of our success this season goes back to the players,” McCall explained. “It all comes down to what our players did on and off the court. Our staff worked hard to give them a platform to succeed, but in the end, their connectivity, work ethic and unselfishness made the engine go.
“My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to continue the growth of this program in a great city and university. We’re thankful for David Blackburn and his staff, Dr. (Steven) Angle and the campus, for their support and commitment to our program.”
The 29 wins were the most by a first-year head coach this season per collegehoopedia.com. It’s tied for the seventh-most dating back to the 1963-64 season. Bill Guthridge’s 34 wins in 1997-98 is the highest win total by a first-year head coach.
The Mocs opened the season 3-0 with wins at Georgia (OT), Hiwassee and at Illinois. They were 6-2 when the squad lost SoCon Preseason Player of the Year Casey Jones to season-ending injury. The next night was the 61-59 snapping of Dayton’s 26-game home winning streak en route to a 23-3 mark without Jones in the lineup.
“It was a special season,” McCall added. “I knew this was a great opportunity and am very thankful for the way this team embraced what we were trying to accomplish.”