Staff
Head Coach
Rusty Wright

A 22-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Wright is a 1996 graduate of UTC with a degree in Sports Administration. He was a four-year letter winner for the Mocs football team and had two stints as an assistant coach at UTC.

“I am extremely excited to announce Rusty Wright as the next head coach of Chattanooga Football,” stated UTC Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. “Once again, our program, University and community attracted an outstanding candidate pool.”

“Rusty’s experience and success at the FCS level made him a logical candidate for our job. It was his vision, passion and commitment to UTC that convinced us that he was the perfect fit for the long-term success of Chattanooga Football. I can’t wait to get started working with him to bring championships back to Chattanooga.”

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to come back to Chattanooga,” stated Wright. “It is my alma mater, it is my home and it is a place I care deeply about. I am very honored for the chance to lead our football program and I would like to thank Mark Warton, Dr. Steve Angle and everyone else involved for this opportunity.

“There is a solid foundation for success with some great student-athletes in our program. I want to build on that in a way that continues to instill pride in our student-athletes, our University, alumni and community. More importantly, want to do it for the long haul.”

Wright spent the last two seasons on Shawn Elliot’s staff at Georgia State where he coached the inside linebackers, special teams and served as the Panthers' recruiting coordinator. They guided the Georgia State to the 2017 AutoNation Cure Bowl Championship.

In his first year with the Panthers, the 2017 GSU defense set season records for fewest points per game (24.75), fewest rushing yards per game (136.4), fewest yards per rushing attempt (4.13) and most sacks (24).

Prior to that, Wright was a member of Russ Huesman’s staff at UTC during one of the most successful runs in school history. He was the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for four seasons (2013-16). UTC won three-straight Southern Conference titles and made three consecutive FCS Playoff appearances during his time in the Scenic City.

Included in those playoff berths was a trip to the quarterfinals berth in 2014. There were also four consecutive seasons of eight or more wins.

In 2016, Wright coached All-America linebacker Nakevion Leslie. During his tenure at UTC, five linebackers earned first-team all-conference honors, while punt returner Tommy Hudson, tutored by Wright in 2014, earned All-America recognition.

Before returning to UTC, Wright worked two years helping build a new program at NAIA-member Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga., where he was the defensive coordinator.

Wright served four years (2005-08) as an assistant at Miami (Ohio). In 2007, the Miami defense led the Mid-American Conference in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and quarterback sacks. The Red Hawks won MAC East titles in 2005 and 2007.

In 2004, Wright served as the defensive coordinator at Butler. He also spent one season coaching defensive line at Gardner-Webb (2009), and one year as the linebackers coach at Furman (2010).

Wright was a four-year letterman at Chattanooga from 1992-95. He caught more than 50 passes as a tight end in his career, playing on offensive units that included future NFL players Terrell Owens, Jerry Ellison and Marrio Grier.

He began his coaching career on the Mocs staff, serving seven seasons (1996-02) in various roles, coaching the linebackers, tackles, tight ends, special teams and the junior varsity squad.

The native of Petticoat Junction, S.C., Wright is married to the former Kelley Black, who was a volleyball letter winner at UTC. The couple has one daughter, Madison, a basketball player at Belmont.

Offensive Coordinator / QB's
Joe Pizzo

Joe Pizzo is in his first year as the Mocs Offensive Coordinator. He joined UTC in January after spending the previous season in the same position at Mercer. He is a 22-year veteran of the NCAA coaching ranks, serving the majority of that time as an offensive coordinator.

At Mercer, Pizzo saw the Bear’s offense have immediate success with 377.6 yards in total offense (231.0 passing, 146.7 rushing). Mercer averaged over 30 points per game (30.6) for the first time since 2014 and his unit ranked third in the FCS in red zone offense (92.1 percent). Five offensive players earned All-SoCon honors under Pizzo's watch.

Pizzo was the offensive coordinator at North Greenville from 2013-17. He led Crusaders to an average of 408.2 total yards of offense over five seasons, including a nine-win season in 2016. He also served as OC at North Carolina A&T (2011-12) and Gardner-Webb (1997-10).

A 1987 graduate of Mars Hill with a B.S. in Physical Education, Pizzo earned South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Offensive Player of the Year & All-America honors in 1985 while leading Mars Hill to the 1985 SAC Championship. He finished his collegiate career with school records for passing attempts in a single game (49), touchdown passes in a single season (16) & total offense in a single season (2,080 yards).

After signing free agent contracts with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1987) & Indianapolis Colts (1991), Pizzo also played professionally with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions & Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks (World League of American Football). He and his wife, Dana, have one daughter, Stetson. He was inducted into the Mars Hill Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.

Defensive Analyst
Lorenzo Ward
Defensive Line / Recruiting Coordinator
Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker is in his first season as the defensive line coach at UTC. He joined the Mocs after five years in the same position at Mercer (2014-18).

At Mercer, Baker mentored a defensive line unit that saw Isaiah Buehler emerge as one of SoCon’s top defensive linemen, earning All-SoCon First Team honors with team-leading 7.5 TFL & 5.5 sacks in 2017. Last year’s squad ranked 21st in the FCS in red zone defense (74.5 percent) and was led by Dorian Kithcart, who registered career-highs of 29 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss & 2.5 sacks

Baker’s defensive line played key role in Mercer leading SoCon in turnovers gained (25) & turnover margin (+9) in 2017, marking the fourth year in a row the Bears tallied at least 21 turnovers gained. The 2015 unit ranked among SoCon’s best against the run, allowing 171.3 yards per game.

Prior to stint at Mercer, Baker was the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Berry College in 2013. He also served as Rusty Wright’s linebackers student assistant at Gardner-Webb in 2009. A native of Cartersville, Ga., Baker served as defensive coordinator at Augusta’s Lakeside High School from 2010-12.

A standout student-athlete, Baker was a four-year letterman & three-year starter on the defensive line at Gardner-Webb (2005-08). He was selected as a team captain & garnered team’s defensive Player of the Year honors in 2007. He was also a regular member of school’s Dean’s List & Big South Honor Roll, earning a B.S. in Health & Physical Education in 2009. He went on earn a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer in 2018.

Safeties
David Bibee

David Bibee is in his first season as the Mocs defensive assistant. This is his second tenure at UTC, having previously served as an assistant coach in 2006-07.

Bibee joins UTC after spending 10 years at MTSU. His career began as a student-assistant at Tennessee in 1977. From there, he has embarked on a 41-year journey that includes stops at Ole Miss (1978), North Alabama (1979), Austin Peay (1981-82), Appalachian State (1984-88), South Carolina (1989-93), Tennessee Tech (1996), Clemson (1997-98) and ETSU (1999).

Not only is this his second stint with the Mocs, it is also his third run at a program in the Scenic City. He was UTC’s secondary coach under Rodney Allison in 2006-07. He also served as head coach of the Baylor School from 2000-05.

At MTSU, he coached the safeties all but his last season in 2017 when he was in charge of the linebackers. He coached Blue Raider Kevin Byard, who became MTSU’s all-time interceptions leader with 19 and guided a 2011 secondary that ranked 44th nationally in pass defense. That was his second stint at Middle Tennessee, having coach the defensive backs in 1980.

At Baylor, he led the Red Raiders to the Division II state semifinals in 2000 and 2005. Among the notable players with the Red Raiders was NFL center Jacques McClendon.

Bibee was a four-year letter winner at Tennessee from 1973-76. He graduated with a degree in Health Education in 1977. He and his wife Lisa have three children, Ashlee, Allison and Lindsey.

Tight Ends
Jacob Huesman

Jacob Huesman is in his first season as the Mocs tight ends coach. He comes to UTC after spending 2018 as a graduate assistant at Georgia State.

Huesman is a former Chattanooga quarterback (2012-15) and three-time Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He holds nearly every offensive record at Chattanooga and was an All-American as a senior in 2015.

He was just the fourth in FCS history to post 40 rushing (43) and 40 passing touchdowns (64) in a career. He is also one of only two in SoCon history to rush for 4,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards.

After graduating with a degree in Business in 2015, he spent time with the Steelers and Titans. He was signed as a fullback with the New York Giants at the end of the 2016 season and competed for a spot in the 2017 training camp.

Huesman’s father, Russ, is a former player and head coach of the Mocs. He is the current head coach at Richmond where they worked together when Jacob was a member of the Spider’s staff in 2017.

Huesman is married to former UTC women’s basketball and softball student-athlete Hannah Thurley.

Offensive Line
Chris Malone

Chris Malone is in the first season of his second stint as the Mocs offensive line coach. He spent the last three seasons as the offensive line coach at Old Dominion. In his first season with only one senior starter, ODU led Conference USA in rushing with 2,559 yards.

The Monarchs finished second in Conference USA in fewest sacks allowed. He also helped guide junior center Nick Clarke and redshirt freshman left tackle Isaac Weaver to honorable mention Conference USA honors in 2017.

During his time at UTC from 2014-15, the Mocs won two SoCon titles and made two trips to the FCS Playoffs. Malone coached current Tennessee Titan Corey Levin to FCS All-American honors and consecutive Jacob’s Blocking Awards. Chattanooga also rushed for more than 3,000 yards and had two 1,000 yard rushers both seasons.

Malone coached at Virginia State in 2013, helping the Trojans to a 9-1 record and a CIAA title. Prior to that, he worked with the offensive line and was the run game coordinator at James Madison for seven seasons. At JMU, Malone coached Dorian Brooks, a 2009 Third-Team All-America and a free agent signee of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2008, he directed an offensive front that included Rimington Award (nation’s top center) winner Scott Lemn.

In 2007, Malone helped JMU average 33.3 points, 410.0 yards of total offense and 265.1 yards per game rushing. JMU led the CAA in rushing and was seventh nationally, while allowing only six sacks, the fewest in the nation.

Prior to James Madison, Malone coached the offensive line and tight ends at VMI (2005) and the offensive line (2001-04) at UMass. He was a graduate assistant offensive line coach at Virginia Tech from 1999-2000, and was offensive and defensive line coach at Fork Union Military Academy in 1998.

Malone was a four-year starter as an offensive guard at Virginia Tech (1991-95). He made 47 consecutive starts during his career, earning All-Big East Conference honors in 1995.

Wide Receivers
Adam Mims

Adam Mims is in his first season coaching the receivers at UTC. He joined the Mocs in January after spending the previous season in the same position at Tennessee Tech.

Mims is a 2010 graduate of Furman where he was an All-American receiver. He spent two seasons at Presbyterian College as the Blue Hose's wide receivers coach and passing game co-coordinator before coaching at Tennessee Tech in 2018.

During his time at PC, he oversaw All-Big South Conference receiver Dashawn Davis. Mims also served as the punt return coordinator and PC's unit ranked second in the Big South Conference.

Prior to that, Mims spent a year as an offensive analyst at Samford. With the aid of his efforts, the Bulldogs finished third in the nation in passing offense, seventh in total offense and the top team in completion percentage.

As a collegiate student-athlete at Furman, Mims was a team captain in 2010. He was named a second-team All-American by The Sports Network, as well as the group's National Player of the Week following a contest at then-No. 13 South Carolina. He was also a consensus selection to the All-SoCon team for three straight seasons.

He ended his career at Furman as the school's all-time leader in receiving yards, receptions and single-season receptions. Mims is fifth in Furman's record book in career touchdowns with 13.

Mims later went on to spend a season with the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 and then to the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes in 2012 as a receiver/punt returner and kick returner, before returning to the collegiate side to coach.

Running Backs / Camp Director
Ricky Spradling

Ricky Spradling is in his first season as the Mocs running backs coach. He joined the UTC staff in January after spending the previous two seasons as the running backs coach at North Greenville (S.C.) University.

Spradling joined North Greenville after spending four years on Bruce Fowler's staff at Furman. In 2013, he was the assistant defensive line coach on the Paladins' SoCon championship team. The next two years he directed the squad's outside linebackers before assuming the duties of running backs coach in the spring of 2016.

Spradling played quarterback at Mars Hill, graduating with a degree in Sports Management in 2009. He was a three-year starter, setting school season passing records for most completions and touchdown passes. He was also a four-time Academic All-SAC honoree.

The Boca Raton, Fla., native was a three-sport standout at Avery County (N.C.) High School, starring in football, basketball, and baseball and playing in North Carolina East-West All-Star games in both football and basketball.

Nickels
Jordan Tippit

Jordan Tippit is in his first season as an assistant coach at his alma mater.

Tippit spent last season as a graduate assistant at Troy. There he helped the Trojans to a school-record, fourth-straight bowl win. They defeated Buffalo 42-32 in the Dollar General Bowl to cap off a 10-3 season.

Prior to working on Neal Brown’s staff, Tippit was a Defensive Assistant at NCAA Division III Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. There he helped the Hawks to a 9-2 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Huntingdon also won the USA South Athletic Conference championship with a 7-0 mark in league play. He began his coaching career as an outside linebackers coach at Boyd Buchanan High School in Chattanooga.

Tippit graduated from UTC in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Administration. As a student-athlete for the Mocs, he made 30 starts in the 41 games during his four-year career. He was a team captain as a senior in 2011 and finished tied for sixth in career interceptions with nine. He was a first-team All-Southern Conference as a sophomore.

Tippit was a three-sport athlete at Buckhorn High School and earned All-Metro honors in his final two seasons of football.

Linebackers / Special Teams Coordinator
Mike Yeager

Mike Yeager is in his first season as special teams coordinator and defensive assistant for the Mocs. He comes two UTC after spending the 2018 season as the defensive coordinator at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio.

Yeager helped the Dragon to a 9-2 mark and an NCAA Division II national ranking for most of the season. Prior to his time at Tiffin, he spent five seasons as the head football coach at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisc.

His tenure at the helm of Carthage started as the Red Men's interim head coach for the final three games of the 2012 season. Prior to that, Yeager served as Carthage’s defensive coordinator in both 2011 and 2012.

Since becoming the full-time head coach in 2012, Yeager led the improvement of the football facilities, modernized athletic performance training for Carthage athletes, and brought new concepts to both sides of the ball.

On the field, these changes yielded results, as the Carthage program showed steady improvement, increasing its win total each year, including a 5-5 record in 2015 and 7-3 record in 2017. 2016's seven-win season was just the 19th in program history, placing Yeager in elite class with Art Keller and Tim Rucks as the only coaches to lead the Red Men to at least seven wins in a season.

The 2017 season saw the Red Men complete another 7-3 season. The 14 wins over the last two seasons is the most for the program since the 2004-05 seasons.

Before Carthage, Yeager coached in the Big Ten conference, serving as an assistant coach at Indiana University for five years from 2006 to 2010 with three years coaching the safeties and two years with the linebackers.

Yeager was a graduate assistant for the Hoosiers in 2005. While at Indiana, Yeager coached two years with the noted IU and Miami University football coach, the late Terry Hoeppner, who led a resurgence of the Hoosier program.

Prior to his arrival at Indiana, Yeager spent five years as an assistant coach at the College of Wooster, including the 2003 and 2004 seasons as defensive coordinator for the Scots. In Yeager’s last year as defensive coordinator, the Scots completed an undefeated 10-0 regular season campaign, and won their first-round NCAA playoff game.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Yeager lettered three times at linebacker at Miami University between 1996 and 1999. As a senior, he was third on the team in tackles (116) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (3).

He graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's in sport organization. He and his wife, Katrin, have two daughters, Rylan (eight years old), and Brooklyn (three), and a son, Will (five).

Director of Football Operations
Kadeem Wise

Kadeem Wise is in his third season as the Director of Operations for the Mocs football team. In this position, Wise provides administrative support for the football program.

Wise was an All-American defensive back at Chattanooga from 2010-13. He is the only Moc in school history to be named All-Southern Conference in each of his four years. He is currently sixth all time at UTC with 11 interceptions.

Wise graduated in December 2013 with a degree in Sport Management and was on the SoCon Honor Roll as a senior. He interned in various areas within the athletics department after graduating. He finished his Master's Degree in Sports Management with a Certificate in Athletic Administration from Southern New Hampshire in July 2016.

Wise has an eight year old son, Jaylen.

Director of Recruiting
Zach Kramme

Zach Kramme is in his first season as the Director of Recruiting at UTC. He initially joined the Mocs Football staff in May 2018 as a Player Personnel/Recruiting Assistant.

Kramme comes from Georgia Southern University, where he was a student assistant for three years. There he assisted in the recruiting and player personnel department.

Kramme worked under Zach Bell, now Minnesota’s Director of recruiting communication. While with the Eagles, Kramme twice helped Georgia Southern achieve the number one recruiting class in the Sun Belt. Before becoming a student assistant with Georgia Southern, he was a football/baseball coach at Portal High School in Statesboro, Ga.

Originally from Cartersville, Ga, Kramme graduated from Georgia Southern with a degree in Sport Management and a Minor in Business.