UTC Football Adds Alum to Defensive Backfield Mix

One Chattanooga guy departs, another takes his place. Former Baylor School Head Coach and two-time Chattanooga Mocs assistant David Bibee retired. Alum and local high school coaching leader Tyrus Ward takes his place as defensive backs coach.

Ward is most recently the head coach at Tyner Academy in Chattanooga. That came after a 4-year run (2017-20) rebuilding the program at Brainerd taking the Panthers to two Class 3A playoff appearances (2018 & 2020). His first leading role was at Whites Creek in Nashville (2015-16).

Ward has worked in the prep ranks since 2009 beginning his career at Red Bank at the foot of Signal Mountain. He assisted at Brainerd (2010-14) before his first head coaching opportunity arrived at Whites Creek.

“The thing he brings to us coming from the high school level is his ability to relate to those guys coming out,” Coach Rusty Wright explained. “He knows what’s going on with them on a daily basis which helps us in recruiting.

“Adding him to the defensive staff back there with Coach (Lorenzo) Ward and those guys is a huge bonus.”

Ward graduated from Chattanooga completing his playing career with an 18-game stint over 2004-05. He began his collegiate trek at ETSU before the school abruptly ended the program following the 2003 campaign. That led to 52 catches, 745 yards and five touchdowns in the correct shades of blue and gold.

He played wide receiver for the Bucs and Mocs after a prep career at QB for Brainerd where he threw and rushed for 1,000+ yards as a senior. Ward had 59 career touchdowns (46 pass/13 rush) and was a 2-time all-state performer. He was also an All-American trackster winning an age 15-16 national title in the 400m hurdles and was state champion in the 300m hurdle.

Wright did not discount the alum factor but highlighted the experience locally and in the state as key to the addition.

“It’s always helps (having alums on staff), but it’s not the deciding factor,” he added. “It helps a lot in the state of Tennessee and especially locally when you have a guy who coached in Nashville as well as Chattanooga for a long time. He knows the area, but he just helps us relate a little better to young people. He’s been walking halls with kids in high school understanding circumstances and dynamics they go through every day. He’s also a very knowledgeable football person.

“He’s just a great young man who’s going to be an asset on our staff. We’re excited to having him here.”

Bibee spent more than 40 years in the coaching profession after a playing career at Tennessee. That included two stints with the Mocs. The first came 2006-07 with the latter covering Wright’s two seasons at the Scenic City helm.

His career started on Bill Battle’s staff as student assistant at Tennessee. That was followed by service at Ole Miss, North Alabama, Middle Tennessee (twice), Austin Peay, Appalachian State, South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, Clemson and ETSU.

His protegees include NFL defensive backs Buster Skrine ’10 and Chris Lewis-Harris ’11 from Chattanooga. Super Bowl MVP Larry Brown and current Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard join them along with litany of All-Americans and all-conference picks as well as a future NFL head coach, Steve Wilks at App State. Most impressive, perhaps, is three of his student-athletes departed their respective schools as the all-time interception leaders [Rod Brooks (North Alabama), Robert Taylor (Tennessee Tech) & Byard (Middle Tennessee)].

The Chattanooga Mocs are readying for the 2021 fall campaign. Home games await hosting Austin Peay, Western Carolina, ETSU, Furman and The Citadel. It opens on Thursday, Sept. 2, with a visit from the Governors. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.