The Mocs tip their season Wednesday afternoon against Lander.
While it’s the first ever meeting between the two schools, it won’t be the first visit to McKenzie Arena for Bearcats head coach Omar Wattad.
He played for the Mocs in 2011 and 2012, where he was among the top three point shooters in the SoCon.
Said Wattad:”I had such a blast in my time in Chattanooga.”
But scheduling a game with Chattanooga wasn’t exactly a blast.
Wattad had to scramble to make it happen after some COVID cancellations.
Said Wattad:”I had been informed by an assistant in our conference that Chattanooga was looking for a game because their game just got canceled. I hollered back at actually Adam Blake at North Georgia. Hollered back at him. He gave me Coach McKinley’s number. Called him during practice. That’s how unprecedented these times are. I stepped out to call him during practice. We got to get a game. I’ve got to make this call now. That’s kind of how it came about.”
Wattad will now make his head coaching debut in the same arena, where he bombed three’s during his playing days.
Said Wattad:”I think I was probably famous for jacking up three’s. Maybe making. Maybe missing. (chuckles) John Shulman. Love that guy to death.”
And Wattad’s college head coach loved to give Wattad a hard time.
Said Shulman in 2011:”Omar is abstract. And so he’ll be a good case study for somebody one day.” (chuckles)
Said Wattad:”Chattanooga like I said initially is a place that I truly hold near and dear to my heart. Wonderful memories. Loved playing in McKenzie Arena. Unfortunately it won’t have that same kind of juice and environment when I was playing due to COVID 19 and not having any fans. It’s awesome. It really is awesome.”
The Mocs and Bearcats tip at 2pm Wednesday at McKenzie Arena. No fans will be allowed in attendance as a COVID safety protocol.