Next AD hire might break new ground

Interim post likely to be filled from within

Mike Hamilton announces his resignation as Athletics Director for the University of Tennessee

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Tennessee's Power T logo might just as well stand for "Transition" as the school begins its search for a new athletic director on the heels of Mike Hamilton's resignation on Tuesday.

UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, who will oversee the hiring process, said he plans to have an interim athletic director in place by the end of this week and a permanent hire made in the next six to eight weeks.

Hamilton became the seventh man to serve as the Vols' athletic director when he was hired on July 1, 2003, to act as CEO for an athletic department with a $100 million-plus budget.

Cheek's timeline indicates the interim AD will be hired from within the current school administration. Cheek said the interim AD will advance the search process while attending the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention in Orlando, Fla., next week.

A short list of candidates for the interim AD position includes senior associate athletic director/external operations Chris Fuller, senior associate athletic director administration/football David Blackburn and women's athletic director Joan Cronan.

There has been speculation that former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer could be a potential candidate, but Fulmer recently said he would only be interested "under the right circumstances" and did not return phone calls to the News Sentinel on Tuesday.

One of UT's major boosters, speaking on a condition of anonymity, said he has learned through discussions with the UT administration that the school does not want an AD with previous ties to the school.

Both UT President Joe DiPietro and Cheek are relative newcomers to Knoxville and have ties to the University of Florida.

Prior to arriving at UT in 2006 as vice president for agriculture (preceding his selection as president in October), DiPietro had been the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Florida since 1997. Cheek, hired as chancellor on Feb 1, 2009, arrived in Knoxville after serving as a member of Florida's faculty and administration for 34 years.

While in Gainesville, Cheek served on a sub-cabinet that advised the Florida president on all matters, including athletics.

Cheek said he will put together a search committee, made up of "a group of people who represent various constituencies" to interview and research candidates.

"It (athletic director hire) could be an athletic director or an associate or somebody who has been in athletics that is now doing something else,'' Cheek said, "but they need to have some firing-line experience in an athletic program.''

Cheek believes UT's opening to be an attractive one, despite the school's pending appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. UT faces allegations of 12 major violations.

Some potential candidates within the SEC for Tennessee's vacancy, though it should be noted the search will extend nationwide:

Mitch Barnhart, athletic director, Kentucky: Hired by Kentucky in 2002 after serving as Oregon State's athletic director 1998-2002, the 51-year-old Barnhart served as senior associate athletic director at UT 1986-1998, during the successful tenure of former Tennessee AD Doug Dickey.

Dave Hart Jr., executive director of athletics, Alabama: Hired at Alabama in 2008 to assist Crimson Tide AD Mal Moore in day-to-day operations, Hart served as athletic director at Florida State for 12 years before leaving in October 2007 at the age of 58. Prior to that stint, Hart was East Carolina's athletic director for eight years.

Herb Vincent, associate vice chancellor for university relations/senior associate athletics director, LSU: Vincent, 50, is in a dual capacity managing community relations and serving as primary public relations officer for the school in addition to his role in athletics where he supervises marketing and promotions and is the department administrator for baseball.

Frank Crumley, executive associate athletic director, Georgia: Crumley, 48, served as interim athletic director at Georgia last year while the school looked to replace former Bulldogs AD Damon Evans. Crumley was Evans' top assistant as executive athletic director for finance.

David Blackburn, senior associate athletic director administration/football, Tennessee: The 45-year-old Blackburn has served the Vols in numerous capacities over the past 20 years since being hired full-time in 1991. Blackburn spent five years as assistant athletics director for football under former coach Fulmer, and has been director of recruiting compliance for all men's teams, assistant recruiting coordinator for football and assistant athletics director for development.

Chris Fuller, senior associate athletic director/external operations, Tennessee: Has served on numerous coaching search committees at UT, most recently spearheading the efforts that led to Cuonzo Martin's hire as men's basketball coach. Responsible for cultivating corporate partner relationships, developing and implementing season ticket and group sales and developing marketing and promotional plans for men's and women's athletics. Has served as a consultant for the Mid-American Conference, and was vice president of collegiate marketing for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mike Hill, senior associate athletics director, external affairs, Florida: The 42-year-old Hill oversees marketing/promotional efforts for all 21 sports at Florida, including direct supervision of football and men's basketball. Negotiates multi-media rights agreements, serves as primary liaison with a variety of television rights holders, responsible for the development and implementation of corporate sponsorship programs and supervises the ticket office.

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Comments » 46

Down_The_Field writes:

David Blackburn

tomkats3242 writes:

DO not hire anyone connected or that knows doug dickey or if they are from Florida. Enough said about just hire someone that is honest and truthful that does not have a personal desire to become a millionaire if they are fired or resign. LOWER PRICES

RoadTrip writes:

None on that list is terribly exciting except maybe Blackburn. Widen the net and think outside of the box for a change. And I agree - stay out of the state of Florida. Also, Alabama.

VolAtUGA11 writes:

I'm sure the NCAA COI would recommend Blackburn. Can't say he hasn't earned it.

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

Why in Gods name would Fulmer return any calls to KNS after the bus your Editor in Chief John Adams threw him under a few years back? Do you honestly think that he would even give you the time of day? That would be a no.

I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he becomes the AD...but I can tell you this....KNS won't be getting the story anywhere close to the top of the list.

DenverVol writes:

Kinda makes me throw up in my mouth to re-learn DiPietro and Cheek are Florida guys. Guess that was some information I buried deep in disbelief.

OwensboroVol writes:

I still think that Phil Fulmer would be a great hire. Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky would be another good hire. I totally agree with the poster above who said, "do not hire anyone from or associated with the University of Florida". A lot of the problems we have now are because of the Florida gift of Dr. Cheek.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

David Blackburn

I'm hoping that Blackburn will keep his position but I do not want anybody who has been working with Hamilton to assume the position. We need a fresh start and Dave Hart Jr. would be my choice. Anybody that has worked under Mal Moore the last few years should be high on the list. I also like the Barnhart idea as he worked under one of our best AD's in Doug Dickey.

Volumnus writes:

NEW GROUND???? uggghhhh, haven't we had all the new ground we can stand in the past 6 years???

How about someone with ethics and leadership and maybe a sense of what it means to be a Volunteer?? Just a thought.... We are beginning to smell like the bottom of the swamp and the gators have suddenly taken the high ground. What are our Trustees thinking?

isaaccohen2020 writes:

Hey, how about a retired NFL player with accounting degree to be our future AD.

smokies_old_soul writes:

what is this damn obsession with hiring athletic staff from florida - the only reason that florida has been successful is that they sit in the middle of the 2nd best recruiting area in the country.

have we not learned from previous experience (in many areas of knox county) that hiring outsiders who do not understand the culture of knoxville or UT is a bad idea. seems to me that our best results came from hiring former UT staff !!

but no, we seem to think we are a bunch of dumb hillbillies - we may be hillbillies, but we know how to make things work around here.

MidTennVol writes:

Ernie Grunfeld. But I don't think these guys are smart enough to get him. And would YOU want to work for Cheek?

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to A_Voice_ofReason:

Why in Gods name would Fulmer return any calls to KNS after the bus your Editor in Chief John Adams threw him under a few years back? Do you honestly think that he would even give you the time of day? That would be a no.

I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he becomes the AD...but I can tell you this....KNS won't be getting the story anywhere close to the top of the list.

For the love of God, what makes you think Fulmer would be a good hire and judge of coaching talent? You all blame the hire of Dave Clauson as OC for the demise of the 2008 season and the Fulmer regime. But folks, guess who hired him? Yep, old Philly boy himself. Nuff said. He needs to take his 6 million and enjoy his grandchildren. Because like all of the open coaching jobs, this job will not be offered to him

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What do you care Vandy man? A Vandy fan knows nothing about football

jandjhome#228397 writes:

John Currie now AD at Kansas State

CarlChilders writes:

Mitch Barnhart? Didn't he hire Calipari? Not the direction this program needs to go in.

miketn6 writes:

I don't like to read that Cheek and DiPietro don't want a UT guy in the job. Perhaps they don't want to be overshadowed our out politicked by the new guy.

powert#205805 writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He would be a better choice than anyone mentioned on this list, though I think Fuller could hand the job well without Hamilton's oversight.

westknoxrepub writes:

Anyone but Fulmer, Men's Basketball couldn't afford it, we'll never consistantly contending for SEC Titles under his watch, just look what Dickey did to Men's Basketball. Same cloth.

mithomas writes:

How come no one believes that Condredge deserves a shot? if you look up integrity and hard work in the dictionary Holloway's picture is right there.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to mithomas:

How come no one believes that Condredge deserves a shot? if you look up integrity and hard work in the dictionary Holloway's picture is right there.

I am right there with you

somebodywhoknows writes:

Condredge Holloway should be give a chance at this position. He has everything you look for in an AD. He is a legend of the University, a great person, great integrity, and honest. Do the right thing UT and the right thing will follow.

lafollette37766 writes:

in response to CarlChilders:

Mitch Barnhart? Didn't he hire Calipari? Not the direction this program needs to go in.

He also hired one Billy Gillispie.

NovemberNed writes:

This article lost all credibility when mentioning Joan Cronan as a possible candidate.

coachgarrett#207294 writes:

Think outside the box. BILL JUSTIS would unite the Vol faithful.

dandyseniors#546965 writes:

in response to NovemberNed:

This article lost all credibility when mentioning Joan Cronan as a possible candidate.

She's only mentioned as interim.

9thSon writes:

Dave Hart Jr. sounds like the right guy.

TommyJack writes:

Mitch Barnhart? Phillip Fulmer? You cannot be serious. Gag.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

None on that list is terribly exciting except maybe Blackburn. Widen the net and think outside of the box for a change. And I agree - stay out of the state of Florida. Also, Alabama.

My question about Blackburn is when was he director of men's recruiting. That is the area that has us before the NCAA. And do not dismiss folks from Florida. Foley is by far the best AD in the SEC and maybe the nation. jawja just hired an assistant of his for AD (McGarity). If you want to be the best you need to hire the best. Get someone who knows how to build winners and hire great coaches. Florida has shown they know how to do that.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to NovemberNed:

This article lost all credibility when mentioning Joan Cronan as a possible candidate.

That is the stupidest comment I have heard yet.
Joan Cronan and her coaches have a better winning percentage and better on and off the field results than the men ever thought of having.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Mitch Barnhart? Phillip Fulmer? You cannot be serious. Gag.

Exactly, TJ. Double gag

EMBuckles writes:

in response to mithomas:

How come no one believes that Condredge deserves a shot? if you look up integrity and hard work in the dictionary Holloway's picture is right there.

I am sure that Holloway would be an excellent athletics director, for UT, just as he was an excellent quarterback (Dude was AWESOME), however, if he does become AD, he needs to learn that UT's school colors are ORANGE AND WHITE, NOT Orange and BLACK as some of the uniforms he has designed, so I have heard, have been in past years. That is NOT in anyway a negative reflection on his race, which is irrelevant to me, he is a human being and has been an excellent athlete. It is just a matter of TRADITION and the fact that the UT colors are Orange and White and the uniforms ought to be ORANGE AND WHITE. That, nit picky thing said, ha, ha, yes, I think that Holloway would be an excellent AD for UT or an excellent top assistant to Phil Fulmer if he gets it. Meanwhile, UT's medical school should try to see if the can CLONE Holloway and produce an new UT quarterback who would be as great as Holloway was! ;>

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

What do you care Vandy man? A Vandy fan knows nothing about football

Here, here!

A toast to this post.

NovemberNed writes:

in response to budd#207344:

That is the stupidest comment I have heard yet.
Joan Cronan and her coaches have a better winning percentage and better on and off the field results than the men ever thought of having.

Joan Cronan and her coaches have better winning percentages because they are given the best resources of any women's athletic department in the country. They would not exist if not for the money generated from football. It's because of our administration's commitment to women's sports that they succeed. You really think other SEC schools give a darn about women's basketball? They would rather spend their money in football.

If you really want to compare winning percentages of women's sports to men's sports, then you might be the stupidest reader of all time.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to mithomas:

How come no one believes that Condredge deserves a shot? if you look up integrity and hard work in the dictionary Holloway's picture is right there.

Has Condredge Holloway given any indication that he is interested in the job?

You cannot just draft people. They have to want it.

Probably why his name has not surfaced in the mix. He has not indicated that he is interested in the job.

Just because we might want him, doesn't mean he wants it.

Names should be submitted of people who are actually interested in the job.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to NovemberNed:

Joan Cronan and her coaches have better winning percentages because they are given the best resources of any women's athletic department in the country. They would not exist if not for the money generated from football. It's because of our administration's commitment to women's sports that they succeed. You really think other SEC schools give a darn about women's basketball? They would rather spend their money in football.

If you really want to compare winning percentages of women's sports to men's sports, then you might be the stupidest reader of all time.

Why don't you tell the Florida folks about who has the best women's sports, or maybe Georgia.
Joan Cronan has run her piece of the department without any of the BS we have had on the men's side.Both on and off the field. And yes the bottom line is winning.

NovemberNed writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Why don't you tell the Florida folks about who has the best women's sports, or maybe Georgia.
Joan Cronan has run her piece of the department without any of the BS we have had on the men's side.Both on and off the field. And yes the bottom line is winning.

Yes, please go tell Georgia and Florida fans how awesome your women's sports are. They will laugh in your face because those sports do not matter. Go tell Alabama how awesome the Lady Vols are... let me know how they take the news. There is no BS on Joan's side of the department because there is significantly less interest in what that side of the department does... apples and oranges.

516milesfromUT writes:

Great, UT, The University of Florida's other campus.
I am not sure if i like that idea.

volman5 writes:

in response to NovemberNed:

Yes, please go tell Georgia and Florida fans how awesome your women's sports are. They will laugh in your face because those sports do not matter. Go tell Alabama how awesome the Lady Vols are... let me know how they take the news. There is no BS on Joan's side of the department because there is significantly less interest in what that side of the department does... apples and oranges.

YEah, I am going to have to go ahead and side with NovemberNed here. Though what our women's programs have done, has been remarkable, none of it would be possbile without Tennessee Football and the men's department. Where do you think the money comes from that pays Pat Summitt over $1 million annually? Not from the money her program brings in...but from football.

And yes, go to Athens, Gainesville and/or Tuscaloosa, and wave the Lady Vols and Pat Summitt and her 8 national titles in their face. I bet you will find that all of those programs (and Tennessee) would trade every national championship EVER won by their women's department for a single SEC football championship.

Correct me if I am wrong.

jamgod writes:

in response to budd#207344:

That is the stupidest comment I have heard yet.
Joan Cronan and her coaches have a better winning percentage and better on and off the field results than the men ever thought of having.

Agreed...shut up NovemberNed the D-A!!!

jamgod writes:

Maybe we should go for the jugular and fire Cheeks too!!! How much longer is the top brass gonna keep looking like they have know idea what is going on?? Just curious....

JeffersonSmithofMiiiiiilanTennessee writes:

Women's sports live solely off of our football teams ability to earn money for this university. No womens sport at Tennessee even comes close to breaking even financially, not even basketball. This is due to the fact that no one cares about those sports! Volman5 is exactly right that every single school in the conference would trade every championship that one of their womens programs has won for an SEC football title. Hell, I would trade those just to beat Alabama this year. Football is the lifeline! Joan Cronan, while a very nice person and competent womens director, is no where even close to being a viable candidate. She has never even dreamed of balancing that kind of budget due to the simple fact that she has never dreamed of having that kind of budget. All of her funds come from FOOTBALL. Wake up people womens sports are IRRELEVANT. They never have been, and they never will be. They exist only to please people who think everyone needs a fair shake. God Title IX blows!

rockytoplady writes:

No more people from Florida!

Colliervol writes:

in response to LJS1984:

I'm hoping that Blackburn will keep his position but I do not want anybody who has been working with Hamilton to assume the position. We need a fresh start and Dave Hart Jr. would be my choice. Anybody that has worked under Mal Moore the last few years should be high on the list. I also like the Barnhart idea as he worked under one of our best AD's in Doug Dickey.

I do not want anybody who has ever been associated with UT to have the job. And that includes Fulmer, Blackburn, DeFillipo or Barnhart. Forget the incest and go for new blood and a fresh perspective.

Fulmer- Too polarizing
Blackburn- Good assistant but, again, time to get outside the family
Barnhart- Any AD that is stupid enough (or shady enough) to hire John Calipari is automatically disqualified. If they hire him, I will seriously have to consider a number of alternative activities.

I don't even have a clue on the other guys listed but they forgot the two best candidates that I've heard: Tom Jurich from Louisville and Dan Radokovich from Georgia Tech. Jurich has one of the highest reputations in the NCAA and Radokovich cut his teeth at LSU and South Carolina so he knows the SEC. And his reputation is impeccable.

Slystone writes:

Charles Davis has got to be in this discussion and at least in the top 5.

Theo writes:

in response to JeffersonSmithofMiiiiiilanTennessee:

Women's sports live solely off of our football teams ability to earn money for this university. No womens sport at Tennessee even comes close to breaking even financially, not even basketball. This is due to the fact that no one cares about those sports! Volman5 is exactly right that every single school in the conference would trade every championship that one of their womens programs has won for an SEC football title. Hell, I would trade those just to beat Alabama this year. Football is the lifeline! Joan Cronan, while a very nice person and competent womens director, is no where even close to being a viable candidate. She has never even dreamed of balancing that kind of budget due to the simple fact that she has never dreamed of having that kind of budget. All of her funds come from FOOTBALL. Wake up people womens sports are IRRELEVANT. They never have been, and they never will be. They exist only to please people who think everyone needs a fair shake. God Title IX blows!

No you freaking moron - women's sports matter a lot. As a matter of fact as much as the men's sports. Please remember the idea of intercollegiate athletics is to provide competitive opportunities for student athletes. This allows these kids, both male and female, to develop skills that will help them be successful contributors to society.
It is only absolute idiots such as yourself who think the purpose of college sports is to provide a place for sidewalk alumni to go get drunk and act stupid seven Saturdays a year. Why don't you look a little bit beyond your trailer door and clue in to what the University and it's mission is.
The sheer sexism that exists in these threads is amazing. Don't any of you have any daughters you'd like to have equal opportunities?

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