UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Heath Eslinger
Heath Eslinger
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning. 

"It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling program," stated Wharton.  "He is an outstanding coach and an even better human being.  We are certainly going to miss him.

"As most of us know, he has become a sought-after public speaker and coaching mentor.  He has an opportunity to couple that with his faith and follow a new career path.
 We wish him and his family nothing but the best as they embark on this new journey."

Eslinger was hired on July 11, 2009 and went on to win six Southern Conference titles in nine seasons.  He has a career record of 101-61 (.623), including an amazing 53-5 (.914) mark in SoCon matches. 

He was twice named the SoCon Coach of the Year (2011, 2013), and has coached two SoCon Wrestlers of the Year, two SoCon Tournament MVPs and three SoCon Freshmen of the Year.  The Mocs have also brought home 25 individual league titles in this tenure. 

"I can't express my gratitude enough for the University, this department, our alumni and all of our student-athletes and coaches for the privilege of leading this program," stated Eslinger.  "I have truly been blessed to be able to lead this team and be around such great people. 

"I am not leaving one thing, but rather running toward something that has been a passion of mine for several years.  I will do everything I can to help move this program forward and position it for success in the future.  I believe the best days are ahead for Chattanooga Wrestling and I know our administration is in full support. 

"My children have grown up here and we are grateful for the friends, colleagues, parents and many others who have made this special for all of us. I look forward to seeing what the future holds here and can't wait to see how God uses my family in the future."

The Mocs have been at the forefront of the promotion of collegiate wrestling during Eslinger's tenure with the creation of the "Chattanooga Strong" brand.  His aggressive marketing approach helped UTC set attendance records in Maclellan Gym, including a sold out crowd (2,639) for the Iowa match in 2013.

Eslinger orchestrated the move of the Southern Scuffle to Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena in 2012.  The Southern Scuffle has grown into the top in-season collegiate tournament in the nation.

There has also been a marked improvement in the classroom under Eslinger's watch.  The Mocs have finished in the top-10 in the nation in team grade-point-average among wrestling programs three times and topped a 3.0 GPA as a team for the first time in the fall of 2016.  They repeated that feat with another 3.0 semester in the fall of 2017.

"Kyle Ruschell will serve as the Interim Head Coach and we will begin a national search for a replacement immediately," added Wharton.  "Like all of our positions at Chattanooga, I fully expect to receive interest from highly qualified candidates from across the country.  Coach Eslinger carried on the outstanding tradition of Chattanooga Wrestling, and I look forward to finding the next person who is the right fit to lead our program." 

PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL     FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 Father Ryan at Baylor Bradley at William Blount Brainerd at Tyner Central at Hixson Notre Dame at Chattanooga Christian Cleveland at Ooltewah East Hamilton at Anderson Co. East Ridge at Howard Grace at Mt. Juliet Christian Sunbright at Lookout Valley Loudon at Marion ... (click for more)

Dalton State Picked 2nd In Conference Basketball Poll

William Carey (Miss.) received nine of 12 first-place votes to claim the top spot in the 2018-19 SSAC Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Poll. Dalton State (Ga.), Faulkner (Ala.) and Bethel (Tenn.) each claimed one first-place vote.   The 2 nd -6 th  slots in the poll were separated by only nine points. The Crusaders claimed the 2017-18 regular season and tournament ... (click for more)

City "Moves Away" From $4 Million Light Show On Walnut Street Bridge

The city is no longer pursuing a plan for a $4,050,000 light show on the Walnut Street Bridge. Dennis Malone, assistant city engineer, told City Council members on Tuesday, "We have moved away from that project." The council had earlier pulled capital funding that had been proposed for the "Ripples of Light" on the historic "walking bridge" that dates to 1891. “Ripples ... (click for more)

Developer Of Publix Grocery At St. Elmo To Go Before Variance Board

The developer of a planned Publix grocery in St. Elmo will go before the City Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 7 seeking three variances. Mike Price of MAP Engineers said the grocery has been working with community members to try to come up with an acceptable plan for the site where the former Mt. Vernon Restaurant and Pizza Hut are located. There has been controversy over ... (click for more)

Why Are Joda Thongnopnua And Phil Bredesen Downplaying Their Democratic Values?

For the past several months, the Democratic Party has reached a tipping point. “Their Resistance” is to oppose anything and everything Republicans are doing to deliver a stronger economy and better economic opportunities for all Americans.  Yet, I find it very interesting that the public outcry we are seeing from the Democrats on a national level is nowhere to be found when ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Tennessee Week’

For over 50 years I have heard the line, “There are two things you must never do on ‘The Third Saturday of October.’ You mustn’t ever marry and try not to die because, in either case, the preacher won’t show up.” He’ll be watching “The Game.” Ever since Oct 18, 1901, Tennessee and Alabama have been going at it and that inaugural game set the tone as well as the standard for all ... (click for more)