AD search will march on during Jimmy Cheek's vacation

Tennessee continues looking for athletic director

Dr. Jimmy Cheek

Photo by Submitted

Dr. Jimmy Cheek

University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek will be out of town all next week on a long-planned vacation, and his original deadline has been passed, but the search for a new vice chancellor of athletics won't be put on ice.

Cheek's five-member search committee will continue to work with Parker Executive Search, the firm UT hired to help facilitate and expedite the process, during his absence. Unless something unforeseen occurs, a replacement for Mike Hamilton, who resigned June 7 and ended his duties June 30, will not be named while Cheek is away.

When Hamilton resigned, Cheek said he hoped to name a new vice chancellor of athletics within six to eight weeks.

UT's contract with Parker, which was signed June 13, expires Saturday. Uncertainty remains as to whether or not there are plans to extend the contract.

UT paid Parker $90,000 for its two months of services and is liable to pay the firm as much as $105,000.

UT women's athletic director Joan Cronan, a member of Cheek's search committee, continues to oversee the entire athletic department as the interim vice chancellor.

A source with direct knowledge of the search told the News Sentinel that there was "absolutely no truth" that the committee was entertaining the possibility of putting the search on hold until the spring.

Names of potential candidates have been few and far between throughout the past few months, though it's clear the committee is in favor of finding a sitting athletic director from another institution. UT senior associate athletic director David Blackburn is the only in-house candidate in the running for the position.

Last month, one day after Georgia Tech was hit by the NCAA with major violations in its football program, multiple media outlets reported that UT had recently extended a formal offer to Yellow Jackets athletic director Dan Radakovich, but rescinded it once news of the transgressions broke.

Though it's unclear how much communication took place between Radakovich and representatives from Parker, a source told the News Sentinel that UT was never close to hiring him. The source said Cheek did not draft a formal offer for Radakovich, and has never even met him, talked to him on the phone or communicated with him in any way.

The same source, though, would not go as far to say that UT hasn't formally offered the position to a potential candidate or candidates.

Amid a firestorm of reports that LSU athletic director Joe Alleva was considering an offer from UT, LSU chancellor Mike Martin ended the speculation with a letter to fans on the school's website.

"It was brought to my attention that the University of Tennessee was interested in Joe becoming their athletic director," Martin said in the release. "In concert with the leadership of the Board of Supervisors, we determined it was in the best interests of the university to make him a sufficiently fair offer and opportunity to remain at LSU."

Two other potential candidates for the position recently received adjustments to their respective contracts, though it's unclear whether UT's search was the direct reason for them.

South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman received a $75,000 raise Friday, but did not have his contract extended. Hyman, a North Carolina alum, has had his name linked to both UT's and North Carolina's openings at athletic director.

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, a former UT assistant athletic director who picked up his doctorate while with the Vols, received a new contract Wednesday that will keep him at the school until 2020. Phillips' name had been tossed around for the UT job, but was strongly linked to the same opening at the University of Illinois.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 45

vols37 writes:

Jimmy Cheek is a joke. When was the last time he made a good decision. Waste $90,000 on a firm that produces nothing. The beat goes on in Knoxville.

vols2#227315 writes:

Hire Fulmer,or you will loose a lot more UT donations.

spvol writes:

Good news: Cheek's on vacation. Bad news: he's coming back.

rootin4volz writes:

Gator.

FWBVol writes:

I'm going to throw out a name that most people haven't heard of, but could fit the bill for what the committee seems to be looking for in an AD.

Jeff Barber is the AD at Liberty University and is a former associate AD at South Carolina.

Liberty, a Big South Conference school which is I-AA in football, but under Barber the Flames have won both the men's and women's the All-Sports award in the Big South Conference.

Barber is the complete package Tennessee needs as the AD. He's a proven administrator that can make the hard decisions and he's a great fund raiser. He's familiar with the SEC. He's also a man of integrity.

If Barber would listen and would be willing to come to UT there's no way Liberty could come to close to matching what UT will pay the AD.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

Picture looks like he just got swived in the bootocks.

MTSUVOL writes:

Every time I look at Cheek, all I think of is Gators. He's not one of us.

Outdated writes:

Tim Irwin..former VOL and NFL great..current Knoxville Judge is the most qualified person for this position...would he take it? Has anyone asked?

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Finally, someone found a photograph of Cheek actually smiling. Didn't even recognize him.
Where's that snow shovel even even if it is August?

SummittsCourt writes:

Fire Cheek! and then AD's will be interested in Tennessee.

FWBVol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree that the process will be much more fluid once we hear the final NCAA sanctions. But it's only a pipe dream of the opposition for UT to get 4-6 years in sanctions. Short of the SMU death penalty that would be unprecedented. Given the nature of Tennessee's violations the house cleaning that has taken place in the athletic department the very worst I see is one or two basketball scholarships for a year or two and maybe a reduction in the number of recruiting visits we are allowed for a year or two.

arkyvol writes:

how many other ex-vol a.d.s need pay raises?

FireJohnAdams writes:

When Hamilton left, Cheek should have been right behind him. No one wants to work for this guy.

flatrock writes:

Hire BILL EMENDORFER. Now.

RockyBears2009 writes:

heard them mention fulmer on the radio today for the UNC job when i was driving through raleigh. anyone know if he's shown any interest??

volleyreb writes:

Joe Dean was a TV braodcaster before he had a very successful run as the AD at LSU. We really need to look closer to home for some one like him. Jimmy Hyams is a very successful news /broadcaster. He manages the Sport Talk radio station extremely well. He is a great communicator, has great ideas about how sports need to be run, he knows the UT system. Let's go after him to take on the job. we can rally around him.

Hounddawg writes:

David Howell Nuff said!

Classof72 writes:

The Vols have got nothing but Cheek
To find the AD whom they seek
To Parker, he'll say,
"Have a nice 90K!
My butt's on vacation this week."

BSweet writes:

in response to volleyreb:

Joe Dean was a TV braodcaster before he had a very successful run as the AD at LSU. We really need to look closer to home for some one like him. Jimmy Hyams is a very successful news /broadcaster. He manages the Sport Talk radio station extremely well. He is a great communicator, has great ideas about how sports need to be run, he knows the UT system. Let's go after him to take on the job. we can rally around him.

Seriously? No. Not just no, but heck no. I'm hoping I missed your intended sarcasm. You can't really think Hyams is the man for the job. Hyams? That is beyond ridiculous.

madrigal writes:

Jimmy Cheek needs to go on permanent vacation. Just sayin.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Jimmy WHO !!

Outdated writes:

in response to MTSUVOL:

Every time I look at Cheek, all I think of is Gators. He's not one of us.

I think the vast majority of Vol fans would agree...I never understood how Woodruff went to Florida and brought Florida back to control the Tenn athletic program...

OrangePride writes:

As for me, I am not one bit concerned by the posibility of a longer timeline. JC is doing a very fine job to this point and I think she will be a very steady AD for us while in that role. Let's get a really good person who is the right fit with the right vision and really wants to be here. If that person isn't out there right now, then let's just keep our options open until such time as the person does appear. In the meantime, GO VOLS!!

volroadwarrior writes:

Cheek has been in charge of this AD train wreck while the blame has been focused on Hamilton, Pearl, Delmonico, Raleigh, Kiffin and Fulmer. This hall of shame has been under this gator's direction. He appoints an academic Nazi, Susan Martin, to the search committee. Cheek and Martin have agendas other than athletic championships. Cheek is still a gator and Martin is more interested in women's studies than male athletic championships.

nocleats writes:

Blackburn

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to volleyreb:

Joe Dean was a TV braodcaster before he had a very successful run as the AD at LSU. We really need to look closer to home for some one like him. Jimmy Hyams is a very successful news /broadcaster. He manages the Sport Talk radio station extremely well. He is a great communicator, has great ideas about how sports need to be run, he knows the UT system. Let's go after him to take on the job. we can rally around him.

in the history of really bad ideas, this is the worst.

Also, I believe there was a Joe Dean, Sr and a Joe Dean, Jr. The dad was the announcer and the son he AD...but I'm not 100% certain

budd#207344 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I'm going to throw out a name that most people haven't heard of, but could fit the bill for what the committee seems to be looking for in an AD.

Jeff Barber is the AD at Liberty University and is a former associate AD at South Carolina.

Liberty, a Big South Conference school which is I-AA in football, but under Barber the Flames have won both the men's and women's the All-Sports award in the Big South Conference.

Barber is the complete package Tennessee needs as the AD. He's a proven administrator that can make the hard decisions and he's a great fund raiser. He's familiar with the SEC. He's also a man of integrity.

If Barber would listen and would be willing to come to UT there's no way Liberty could come to close to matching what UT will pay the AD.

Sounds like a very interesting candidate. Sitting AD with SEC background and understands winning in all sports

budd#207344 writes:

in response to MTSUVOL:

Every time I look at Cheek, all I think of is Gators. He's not one of us.

He graduated from texas a & m and got his doctors at Lamar. He was a gator when they paid him. Now he is a Vol cause we are paying him. Now Doug Dickey was a gator but he did ok

buxavol writes:

in response to BSweet:

Seriously? No. Not just no, but heck no. I'm hoping I missed your intended sarcasm. You can't really think Hyams is the man for the job. Hyams? That is beyond ridiculous.

Hyams??!! Geez, "reb" has taken us to a new low.

FWBVol writes:

in response to GBOEngineer:

in the history of really bad ideas, this is the worst.

Also, I believe there was a Joe Dean, Sr and a Joe Dean, Jr. The dad was the announcer and the son he AD...but I'm not 100% certain

Actually both Joe Dean Sr. and Jr. have done the dual roles of TV and AD.

Sr. was a longtime color guy for the SEC games and the AD at LSU. Jr. currently does college basketball games as a side to being the AD at Birmingham Southern.

RockyTopinAlabubba writes:

It shouldn't even be a question who to hire. Phillip Fulmer has pledged his allegiance to UT his whole life. Why bring an outsider in who we don't know if he has our best interest at heart. Or is just using us as a stepping stone like Kiffin did. Gotta keep it in the family. 90,000? Really? For what?

alfrizzle097 writes:

All you people are cracking me up about how noone wants to work for Cheek. The reason they hired Cheek in the first place is the faculty WANTED to work for someone that cared about having a quality university after several failures in that position.

If Cheek is doing a good job shepearding a campus with many hugely outdated and run down buildings into the 21st century (god forbid), I will laugh at all the sports fans that think that is how he should be judged. For god's sake, there is an engineering building that used to be a stable.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

All you people are cracking me up about how noone wants to work for Cheek. The reason they hired Cheek in the first place is the faculty WANTED to work for someone that cared about having a quality university after several failures in that position.

If Cheek is doing a good job shepearding a campus with many hugely outdated and run down buildings into the 21st century (god forbid), I will laugh at all the sports fans that think that is how he should be judged. For god's sake, there is an engineering building that used to be a stable.

Many an academic administrator has fallen as has the schools sports fortunes. Like it or not, outside the Ivy League, sports is the tail that wags the dog. I love my alma mater but not for its engineering dept. I do not drive 6 hours nor donate to see the nursing school do well. GBO. Go CDD.

flafan2001 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Sounds like a very interesting candidate. Sitting AD with SEC background and understands winning in all sports

It will certainly fit the pattern of recent hires from lower tier conferences.I mean why compete for high profile guys when you can get someone on the cheap who can intern in the SEC.

Hacksaw57 writes:

Wanna bet he went on vacation to FLORIDA!??
Needs to stay down there as far as I'm concerned...

clvolfan writes:

in response to spvol:

Good news: Cheek's on vacation. Bad news: he's coming back.

Title that "search goes on with Cheek on vacation".Well,DUH!!,why would it not go on?
We did not vacate down where I worked because the CEO was vacating.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to ncvol17:

Many an academic administrator has fallen as has the schools sports fortunes. Like it or not, outside the Ivy League, sports is the tail that wags the dog. I love my alma mater but not for its engineering dept. I do not drive 6 hours nor donate to see the nursing school do well. GBO. Go CDD.

I would be interested to see what the TRUE revenue generated for and taken away from the academic side by the athletic department is. They always tout how much money they give back to the brainiacs, but I've never seen a comprehensive list of things like government dollars that the University shunts straight to athletics.

My point is that the mission of the university is academics. Your athletic donations have very little impact on what Jimmy Cheek's job security should be in my mind (though its a more complicated issue that this post would let on).

And besides, the central point of my first post before I went on a tangent was that Cheek was hired explicitly because the faculty requested him. Apparently there are people that want to work for him.

What noone wants to work for is a fan base that has fired their second most sucessful football coach, 2nd/3rd/and 4th most sucessful basketball coaches, and Delmonico whom I would imagine is their most sucessful baseball coach ever. Throw on top of that unknown impending NCAA sanctions.... knowing that the fan base won't accept that as a reason for failure I wouldn't want the job either.

I seriously doubt it has very little to do with Jimmy Cheek.

feathersax writes:

If Cheek's employment guidelines had been used to select the current UT chancellor, then we'd have another person in charge. This clown must be stopped before he does any more damage.

volleyreb writes:

in response to BSweet:

Seriously? No. Not just no, but heck no. I'm hoping I missed your intended sarcasm. You can't really think Hyams is the man for the job. Hyams? That is beyond ridiculous.

Please except my applogies. I am serious. Jimmy H. is a good man. I appologize to him for bringing he name up. As an alumnus of UT ...BS 74, MS 82, EDS 85; I feel that current students, alumni, and the state legislature are the ones that have an invested interest in all parts of the university. The old saying of "If you have not walked the walk, then don't talk the talk". I truly wish that those that have no invested interest would support what the university is attempting to do.

volleyreb writes:

in response to GBOEngineer:

in the history of really bad ideas, this is the worst.

Also, I believe there was a Joe Dean, Sr and a Joe Dean, Jr. The dad was the announcer and the son he AD...but I'm not 100% certain

As I responded to another earlier. Please except my applogies. I am serious. Jimmy H. is a good man. I appologize to him for bringing he name up. As an alumnus of UT ...BS 74, MS 82, EDS 85; I feel that current students, alumni, and the state legislature are the ones that have an invested interest in all parts of the university. The old saying of "If you have not walked the walk, then don't talk the talk". I truly wish that those that have no invested interest would support what the university is attempting to do.

Stranabrade writes:

Wow, there are some less than bright folks commenting.

Jimmy Cheeks is the chief administrative officer at the flagship University in our state. His main responsibility is to make sure the students get the best and most affordable education possible In that regard, he is doing a great job during difficult times.

Cheeks was NOT hired to make sure we have a winning football team. We haven't and will NEVER hire a Chancellor to improve our chances at a game. His job, and its outcome, is much more important than beating Alabama.

There is more to life, and indeed college, than football or any sport.

I graduated from UT, have worked there for 12 years, and love and support Vol football.

Get some perspective, fellow Vols.

Stranabrade writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

All you people are cracking me up about how noone wants to work for Cheek. The reason they hired Cheek in the first place is the faculty WANTED to work for someone that cared about having a quality university after several failures in that position.

If Cheek is doing a good job shepearding a campus with many hugely outdated and run down buildings into the 21st century (god forbid), I will laugh at all the sports fans that think that is how he should be judged. For god's sake, there is an engineering building that used to be a stable.

The MOST INTELLIGENT post to ever appear on this site.

Education is the mission, not Phooball! Go Vols!

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to vols2#227315:

Hire Fulmer,or you will loose a lot more UT donations.

OMg, here we go again.....

Fulmer is a bad choice for a coach, and an even worse choice for an Athletic Director.

Hiring him will result in the loss of "a lot more UT donations."

Turn the page....

whiskeyman writes:

Joan Cronin is no more qualified to run a 100 million dollar sports program than I am, which I am not. She is a "yes" man (no pun intended)to Cheekie when I was there and is today! My guess is that there is a mighty stall going on with the committee that she sits on and the stall clears the way for her to be appointed. She is on the short list. That is a stark contradiction and conflict of interest for her to sit on a search committee for which she is a candidate. How low is this administration willing to go until this house gets cleaned up and out?

whiskeyman writes:

A 100 million dollar athletic program is not a game!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features