Justin Rascati is in his first season as the Mocs’ offensive coordinator. He comes to UTC after spending the 2016 in the same position at Tennessee Tech. There he helped the Golden Eagles to their first winning record in OVC play since 2011 (5-6, 5-3 OVC).
Prior to his time at TTU, he was the receivers coach at UT Martin for two seasons. He also held the title of passing game coordinator for the Skyhawks, as well as serving as the assistant recruiting coordinator for the OVC school.
Before joining the Skyhawks, Rascati guided the quarterbacks at Weber State in 2012 and 2013.
Rascati enjoyed a remarkable collegiate playing career at quarterback. He began at Louisville before transferring to James Madison. There he led the Dukes to a 13-2 record and the program’s first FCS national championship in 2004.
After graduating from James Madison in 2005, Rascati earned tryouts with the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes before playing two seasons in the Arena Football League. He then served as offensive coordinator at Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville from 2010-11 before joining the Weber State coaching staff.
A native of Gainesville, Fla., Rascati enjoyed a remarkable prep career at Buchholz High School where he was the all-time leader in career passing yards (5,033) and touchdown passes (45).
Tom Kaufman is in his first season as Defensive Coordinator at UTC. Kaufman spent last season as the Special Team’s Coordinator and Linebackers Coach at Syracuse.
Kaufman was a part of Dino Babers’ staff for four seasons at Eastern Illinois (2012-13) and Bowling Green (2014-15) before they were hired at Syracuse in January of 2016. Kaufman and Arth played together at John Carroll University from 1999-02.
At Bowling Green, Kaufman helped the Falcons win the 2014 Mid-American Conference East Division title, the 2015 MAC Championship, and earn a pair of bowl bids. In 2015, Kaufman’s first year as a defensive line coach, his unit increased its sack production by six from the previous season. Overall, the Falcons tied for third in the MAC in sacks (30) and posted a 10-4 record, earning a trip to the GoDaddy Bowl.
As BGSU’s special teams coordinator, Kaufman was the architect of a punting unit that ranked in the top 30 nationally two years in a row and led the MAC in net average (39.5) in 2015. In 2014, the Falcons punt return team topped the conference and ranked 29th in the FBS at 10.2 yards per return. In addition, the unit was responsible for three blocked punts and two touchdowns with Kaufman in charge.
Kaufman’s tutelage helped Ryan Burbrink earn All-MAC honors as a punt returner twice, including first-team plaudits in 2014. Kaufman also tutored 2015 All-MAC First Team punter Joe Davidson and 2014 All-MAC Third Team placekicker Tyler Tate.
Another of Kaufman’s protégés, linebacker Gabe Martin, recorded 115 total tackles and led the MAC with 18 tackles for loss on his way to All-MAC Second Team honors in 2014. Martin is currently a member of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals after signing with the team in 2015 as an undrafted free agent.
At Eastern Illinois, Kaufman was part of Babers’ staff that turned around a struggling Panthers program. After successive 2-9 records in the two seasons before the staff’s arrival, Eastern Illinois improved to 7-5 in 2012 and went 12-2 in 2013. The Panthers won the Ohio Valley Conference and made the FCS playoffs both years, including finishing with the No. 3 national ranking in 2013.
Kaufman’s 2013 Eastern Illinois punt return unit led the FCS at more than 20 yards per return. The Panthers also blocked two kicks and scored four special teams touchdowns. In addition, Kaufman’s kickoff coverage team finished third in the country in fewest yards allowed per return.
Kaufman coached three all-conference performers at EIU, including linebacker Robert Haynes who ranked among the Ohio Valley Conference leaders with 101 tackles in 2012. He also mentored NFL Draft choice Kamu Grugier-Hill at EIU. Grugier-Hill was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the New England Patriots.
Prior to linking up with Babers, Kaufman was a quality control coach at Texas (2011), Kansas (2010), and spent the 2009 season as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State.
Kaufman began his coaching career in the Division III ranks, working a total of six years at Heidelberg College, Case Western Reserve, and the University of Chicago before making the jump to the FBS. As the defensive coordinator at Chicago in 2008, Kaufman coached seven all-conference players and the Maroons ranked 26th nationally in pass defense.
As the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Case Western Reserve, Kaufman mentored seven all-conference selections and three league players of the year, including two-time Gagliardi Trophy (Division III Player of the Year) finalist Tom Brew.
Kaufman earned his undergraduate degree in English from John Carroll University in 2003 and received his master’s degree in education from Heidelberg in 2005. Tom is married to his wife, Stephanie.
Ryan Aplin is in his first year as the receivers coach at Chattanooga. A former two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Aplin joins the Mocs after helping North Alabama to the NCAA Division II National Championship game in 2016.
Aplin was an all-star quarterback at Arkansas State under the tutelage of Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn from 2009-12. While at A-State, he led the Redwolves to back-to-back conference championships and was a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and three-time first team all-conference pick.
He completed his four-year career with more than 25 combined single-game, season and career school records and became the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards and total offense. Aplin also became the first person in the history of the Sun Belt Conference to receive the Male Student-Athlete of the Year twice, in 2012 and 2013.
During his stint at North Alabama, he served as the receivers coach and the recruiting coordinator. Prior to that, he worked as a graduate assistant at both Auburn and Ole Miss.
Originally from Tampa, Fla., Aplin graduated from Fleming Island High School near Jacksonville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Arkansas State in 2012 with a cumulative GPA of better than 3.3. He is married to the former Victoria Price of Fleming Island, Fla.
Shawn Bryson is in his third season as the Mocs Running Backs coach. He was a captain on Tennessee’s 1998 National Championship team, and is an eight-year veteran of the NFL.
Bryson coaches a stout Mocs rushing attack that has put up two of the top five rushing totals in school history. In 2015, the Mocs ran for a school-record 3,145 yards (241.9 per game). Last season, UTC totaled 2,682 (206.3) which was the fourth-highest mark in school history.
Under Bryson’s tuteledge, running back Derrick Craine was a two-time All-Southern Conference honoree. Craine set a new UTC single-season rushing record with 1,251 yards on the ground in 2015, and topped the 1,000-yard mark again last season.
Craine and quarterback Jacob Huesman both ran for over 1,000 yards in 2015, just the 35th time in FCS history that teammates put up 1,000 yards in the same season.
A standout ball carrier in his own right, Bryson was taken in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played for the Bills from 1999-02 and then spent the rest of his career with the Detroit Lions (2003-06).
Bryson entered collegiate coaching as the fullbacks coach at Lenior-Rhyne University in 2012. The Bears advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history, finishing the year No. 2 in the nation in rushing.
He followed that with a stop at Temple as a graduate assistant in 2013 and was the Running Backs coach at Florida A&M in 2014.
Bryson is heavily involved with coaching opportunities with the NFLPA. In 2012, he was one of seven former players selected to take part in an exclusive coaching internship. He also served under Dick Vermeil as the assistant running backs coach at the 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
A native of Franklin, N.C., Bryson graduated from Tennessee with a Political Science degree in 2011.
Brian Cochran enters his first season as the defensive line coach for the Mocs. He spent the previous 10 years at John Carroll University, serving in various roles that included defensive line coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
On the field, JCU finished No. 13 in the nation in rushing defense (78.3) and averaged over three sacks per game in 2016. The Blue Streaks were second in the country in sacks in 2015 (4.5) and 15th in DIII in rushing defense (96.8) in 2014.
In 2013, JCU’s rush defense was ranked 16th in all of Division III only allowing 101.7 yards per game on the ground. Cochran’s defensive line wreaked havoc in the opposing backfield as the Blue and Gold ranked 17th with 3.18 sacks per game.
In six seasons as defensive coordinator, the Blue Streaks were among the national leaders in several categories. In 2012, JCU was ranked 12th out of 241 teams in rushing defense and 25th in tackles for loss. His 2008 defense ranked second in the OAC and 35th nationally in Division III in points allowed per game (17.3 ppg).
Prior to coming back to JCU, he held coaching positions at Heidelberg University (head coach from 2003-2006), MacMurray College (IL) and Ohio Northern University. He also served as head coach of the Heidelberg wrestling program for two seasons, helping the ‘Berg to a top 25 national ranking.
As a player, Cochran was a first team All-OAC selection and a first team All-American as a senior nose tackle in 1989, helping the Blue Streaks capture their only outright league title and earn the program’s first NCAA Division III tournament bid.
Cochran was inducted into the JCU Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 30, 2011.
Jonathan Cooley is in his first season with the Mocs as the defensive backs coach. He spent the 2016 season as a defensive graduate assistant at Kentucky.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Cooley spent two seasons as the secondary coach at John Carroll University where he was a part of Tom Arth’s staff. The Blue Streaks’ defense finished in the top five nationally both seasons, including a No. 1 ranking in 2013.
Cooley also coached safeties and was the equipment manager for Bluffton University (Bluffton, Ohio) in 2012. He was the defensive backs coach and assistant special teams coordinator at Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.) in 2011.
A a four-year letter winner and three-year starter at John Carroll, Cooley finished in the top 10 all time in career pass breakups. He was elected as a Unity Council Member all four years of his collegiate career and earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance in 2011. He also earned an MBA in in 2014 and completed work towards a second master’s degree in Sport Leadership at Kentucky.
DeMarcus Covington is in his first season as the Mocs outside linebackers coach. He joined the team after spend last year as the co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach at Eastern Illinois.
Prior to his time with the Panthers, Covington worked one season at Ohio Valley Conference member UT Martin. In 2015, Covington coached second team All-OVC selection Damani Taylor as the Skyhawks went 7-4 overall, 6-2 in the OVC. Taylor finished sixth in the league in sacks as the defensive line unit had three of UT Martin’s top three tacklers.
Before his stint at UTM, Covington spent two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at Ole Miss under head coach Hugh Freeze. In 2014 he helped coach the Rebels to a No. 9 ranking in the College Football Playoff poll. The Rebels spent ten weeks in the top ten in the national polls knocking off No. 1 Alabama, No. 14 Texas A&M and No. 4 Mississippi State. The team capped the year with an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In his first season Ole Miss posted an 8-5 record including a win over No. 8 LSU and a victory over Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl.
As part of the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (16 points per game allowed) in 2014, Covington helped oversee the progression of Marquis Haynes, Robert Nkemdiche and Carlos Thompson. Haynes was a Freshman All-American setting an Ole Miss freshman record with 7.5 sacks. Nkemdiche also earned Freshman All-American honors under Covington in 2013 before earning All-American honors in 2014 with 35 tackles and two sacks. Thompson played in the College Gridiron Showcase to end his collegiate career.
Covington came to Ole Miss from UAB where he spent the 2012 season as a defensive graduate assistant working with both linebackers and defensive line.
Covington played at Samford University under former Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan. As a three-year starter at wide receiver he hauled in 62 catches for 586 yards and two touchdowns from 2007-10. Off the field Covington created Next Level in 2012, a non-profit football camp that serves as an outlet to the youth of his home town of Birmingham for a full day of football-related drills and activities.
He graduated from Samford in the fall of 2011 and has master’s degree work complete at both UAB and Ole Miss. Covington is married to NaTasha Covington.
Matt Feeney is in his first season as the Linebackers coach at UTC. He comes to Chattanooga after spending three seasons on Tom Arth’s staff at John Carroll University.
Feeney was a standout linebacker and team captain for the Blue Streaks from 2010-13, earning the Gene Slaughter Most Outstanding Linebacker Award as a senior. This honor goes to the top linebacker in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
After earning his degree in Marketing in 2014, he stepped in as the linebackers coach at JCU. His first season, he coached Kevin Cope to a Gene Slaughter Award and All-American honors. His other linebacker, Jimmy King, also earned second team all-league honors as well.
In 2015, Feeney helped Andy Bryan earn first team All-OAC recognition, while also adding the duties of Special Teams co-Coordinator. Last season, Mason McKenrick also earned the Slaughter Award under Feeney’s guidance. McKenrick was the North Region Defensive Player of the Year and a first team All-American selection.
The Blue Streaks defense finished in the top-15 in the nation each of the last three years. Feeney is also expected to complete his M.B.A. from John Carroll in May.
Nick Hennessey is in his first season as the Mocs’ offensive line coach. He comes to UTC after spending 2016 on Tom Arth’s staff at John Carroll University.
At JCU, Hennessey coached Dominic DiTirro to NCAA Division III All-American honors. DiTirro appeared in all 14 games and led an offensive line that played a major role in a JCU offense that averaged 388.0 yards and 32.9 points per game.
Hennessey has seven years of collegiate experience on his resume, including stops at St. Lawrence University (2010-13) and Western Michigan (2014-15). He was a graduate assistant with the offensive line at WMU.
A former All-American at Colgate University (2005-08), Hennessey spent the 2009 season with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. He continued his playing career for three more seasons in both the UFL and the CFL.
Chris Hurd joins the Mocs as the Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends coach. He is coming off three seasons in the same capacity at Florida Atlantic and has also worked at Arkansas and Tennessee.
Hurd started with the Owls in January 2014 and had an immediate impact in both areas he coached. The tight ends caught six scores that season, while Lucky Whitehead finished in the top-10 in the nation in kick return yards and Dalton Schomp averaged 45.4 yards per punt.
The 2015 special teams unit excelled in its second season under Hurd’s direction. Most notably, Schomp led the nation with 48.0 yards per punt. Nearly half of Schomp’s punts (22-of-45, 49%) were for 50 yards or more and he pinned 18 inside the 20. FAU tight ends also emerged as a solid unit in 2015. Nate Terry led all Owls receivers with four touchdown receptions.
Last season, all-conference member Kerrith Whyte led the squad in kick returns and was third in the nation in combined kick returns. Whyte tallied 1,002 kick return yards for an average of 25.7 yards per return. Schomp averaged 42.6 yards per punt and earned honorable mention all-conference recognition. Tight end Harrison Bryant emerged as a significant contributor with six catches for 63 yards and a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman team.
Prior to FAU, Hurd was the special teams quality control at Arkansas in 2012 and spent two years on Tennessee’s strength & conditioning staff in 2011-12. He also served as the special teams quality control with the Volunteers. Hurd was the defensive coordinator at Cisco College from 2007-10 and was a graduate assistant at North Texas from 2004-06.
Hurd was a walk-on who lettered four seasons at North Texas (2000-03). He earned a scholarship and was a two-year starter, for the three-time Sun Belt Champions (2001-03). He earned the team’s Byron Gross Award, bestowed to the best linebacker, in 2002 and 2003, first-team All-Sun Belt in 2003 and Defensive Player of the Year the same season.
Hurd is a native of Killeen, Texas. He and his wife, Emily, have one son, Ryker. Hurd earned his degree in History with a minor in Criminal Justice from North Texas in 2004.
Scott Aligo is in his first year as the Mocs’ Director of Player Personnel. He comes to UTC after spending last season in the same position on Tom Arth’s staff at John Carroll University.
Aligo has over six years of experience in player personnel in the NFL, working with the Kansas City Chiefs (2005-09) and the Cleveland Browns (2014-15). With the Chiefs, he was a player personnel assistant and held an associate title with the Browns.
Aligo has also had coaching stops at nearly every level of college football. He started as a defensive graduate assistant at Washburn (2010-11) before working as a defensive quality control assistant at Oklahoma State (2011-12). He followed that with a defensive assistant position at Texas A&M (2012-14) and assistant defensive ends at Northern Colorado (2014).
Kadeem Wise is in his second 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.
Patrick Kramer is in his first season as the Offensive Quality Control at UTC. He comes to Chattanooga after spending one season on Tom Arth’s staff at John Carroll University.
Kramer played quarterback for four years under the tutelage of Coach Arth from 2012-2015. After earning his degree in History at JCU, he stepped in as Wide Receiver’s Coach for the 2016 season. In his first season, he coached Marshall Howell to all-conference and all-region Honors.
The Blue Streaks finished the No. 3 in the nation after the 2015 season, best in program history.