In 1997, the UTC Moccasins faced an identity crisis. For most of the century, the school had relied on Native American imagery for its teams, but with the 21st century came a renewed commitment to Tennessee's all-inclusive heritage. Thus, the Mocs re-appropriated their nickname to represent the state bird, the mockingbird, and incorporated Chattanooga's proud history of railroads into their logos. Known for its feisty spirit and ability to twirl a baton in its beak, the mockingbird also embodied qualities found in the greatest student athletes, making it a fitting inspiration for the men and women in sports such as golf, track and field, and women's volleyball. 1997 was a big year for UTC basketball in general, as the men's squad went on to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament, continuing the school's proud legacy of hoops since the team's inception in 1977.