I need to close this chapter of my life and move on."
KNOXVILLE - Noting he'd faced "challenges and frustrations in the last 18 months," Athletic Director Mike Hamilton announced his departure from the University of Tennessee effective June 30.
As he leaves, Hamilton stands to gain $1.335 million over the next 36 months as part of a separation agreement. The document includes the terms of his behavior going forward, including fines if he is critical of UT, and also includes bonuses for department successes and an allotment of UT athletic tickets for life.
Hamilton referred to the Bible and his faith during an 11 a.m. press conference announcing his resignation at Tennessee's Stokely Family Media Center in Neyland Stadium.
"I accept responsibility. In a way this (his resignation) was inevitable," he said.
He quoted a Bible verse he said he has used for inspiration.
"This has led me to the conclusion that ... I have to close this chapter and move ahead."
Hamilton said he spoke with Chancellor Jimmy Cheek several times last week, before Cheek accepted his resignation.
Hamilton's resignation was announced in an email this morning from University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro to the UT Board of Trustees.
He will still be part of the group Saturday representing UT before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, part of an ongoing review of actions by former UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his staff, former football coach Lane Kiffin and the UT athletic department itself.
An interim athletic director will be named before the end of the week, according to the university.
A national search for a new athletic director will begin immediately. A search firm will assist in the hunt.
"We hope to have someone in place before the football season begins," Cheek said in a statement. "However, it is important to get the right person, and we will not rush the search to meet this time line."
Throughout the morning's press conference, Hamilton appeared upbeat. He touched on the personal in his life as well.
"I have been on an interesting journey both personally and professionally," Hamilton said, bringing up past visits to Africa to promote adoption of impoverished and parentless children.
As the conference ended, he declared, "Go Vols."
Jim Murphy, vice chairman of the UT Board of Trustees, said the university has some work to do to find a strong replacement.
"(Hamilton's) an outstanding guy who's done a lot of good things for the university, so obviously we're going to work hard to find somebody to replace him," Murphy said.
Cheek, in accepting the resignation, praised Hamilton's time at UT, according to the university.
"The University of Tennessee's athletic programs have experienced great success under Mike Hamilton's leadership. Mike has led our teams to success on and off the field," according to a statement from Cheek.
It's Cheek's decision to pick a replacement, although Murphy said board members can serve on the search committee.
"Ultimately, he's got to hire someone he can work with it," Murphy said.
Hamilton's departure follows a series of recent setbacks for UT athletics, including the NCAA investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Pearl, Kiffin and the disappointing tenure of baseball coach Todd Raleigh, who was let go last month.
Hamilton became men's athletic director in 2003. Previously he served as assistant, associate and senior associate athletic director, having joined the UT staff in 1992.
Last year he oversaw the annual United Way of Greater Knoxville fundraising campaign.
He and wife Beth have five children, all of whom they adopted. Three of their children are siblings who were born in Ethiopia.
According to UT, he has a bachelor's of science degree in accounting and an MBA from Clemson University.
More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.