CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---Rodney Allison, a former football player and assistant coach under Steve Sloan, was named head football coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Sloan announced Friday. Sloan, the athletics director at UTC, was the head coach at Texas Tech where Allison was a star quarterback in the mid 1970s.
Allison, the defensive ends coach at Clemson for the past four seasons, replaces Donnie Kirkpatrick who was reassigned within the University following the 2002 season. The Mocs went 2-10 overall on the season and were 2-6 in the Southern Conference.
“Rodney was what they called a sudden player in Texas,” Sloan said of his former quarterback. “When he had the ball, his team was suddenly ahead. He helped me look good as a coach. He is every bit as good a coach as he was a player.”
Allison brings more than two decades of football coaching experience to the Mocs program. Other than his stint at Texas Tech, he has also held assistant coaching positions at Duke, Southern Mississippi, Auburn and Clemson.
“I think everyone who starts in this profession has hopes and dreams of becoming a head coach,” Allison said. “Today, I have realized those dreams.
“I have been fortunate to have worked at a lot of great universities and to have won a lot of games. I have also been fortunate to have worked for some great head coaches – Rex Dockery, Curley Hallman, Terry Bowden, Tommy Bowden. But my favorite was Coach Sloan. I would not be standing here today without the influences of these great coaches.”
Allison pointed out the attributes of the city of Chattanooga, Finley Stadium and the University’s facilities. He says UTC is definitely capable of competing on a national level and succeeding. He also stressed the importance of the student-athletes to be successful in all phases of the program.
“There is a lot that goes into being a football coach, but there is only one result that you strive for,” he said. “We want to be and will be successful. We want to be successful on the field in terms of wins. We want to be successful recruiting in terms of bringing in quality student-athletes to this school. We will demand that our players are successful in the classroom, and when they leave here, we want them to be successful in life.”
While on Tommy Bowden’s Clemson staff, Allison helped this year’s Tigers to a 7-5 record and a Tangerine Bowl berth. His defensive ends have helped the Tigers record nearly 100 sacks over the last three years.
Allison worked on Terry Bowden’s Auburn staff from 1993-98, serving as running backs coach, special teams coach and offensive coordinator in different years. Allison and the Tigers forged a perfect 11-0 record in 1993, and they were ranked No. 4 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll. They went 20-1-1 in the first two years and earned three Bowl Game berths.
While coaching the running backs at Auburn, three of his pupils gained over 1,000 yards in a season. James Bostic led the Southeastern Conference in rushing in 1993, and Stephen Davis was tops in the SEC the following year.
Allison worked as an assistant at Southern Mississippi from 1988-92. His star player while working with the Golden Eagles’ quarterbacks and running backs was quarterback Brett Favre. After an outstanding college career at USM, Favre has gone on to an extraordinary career in the National Football League. He won a Super Bowl title with the Green Bay Packers in 1996 and is the NFL’s only three-time Most Valuable Player honoree.
During Allison’s tenure at USM, the Golden Eagles participated in two Bowl Games. They completed a 10-2 season in 1988.
As a college quarterback, Allison led Texas Tech to three Bowl Games - the 1974 Peach Bowl, the 1976 Bluebonnet Bowl and the 1977 Tangerine Bowl. In 1976, he passed for 1,458 yards, ran for 706 and was voted the Most Valuable Player in the Southwest Conference. In 1977, he was nominated for the Heisman Trophy and was elected a team captain. He played in the Hula Bowl and the Japan Bowl Senior All-Star Games.
Allison played football professionally for one year for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1978. He returned to his alma mater in 1979 as a graduate assistant coach and was hired full-time as the running backs coach the following year.
Allison is a 1980 graduate of Texas Tech with a degree in Physical Education. He is married to the former Leigh Harris of Durham, N.C., and the couple has two children, Sloan, 14, and Ashleigh Delle, 11.