Hamilton to get $1.335 million in UT separation agreement, offers upbeat message at resignation announcement

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton announces his resignation alongside chancellor Jimmy Cheek (not pictured) at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on June 7, 2011.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton announces his resignation alongside chancellor Jimmy Cheek (not pictured) at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on June 7, 2011.

I need to close this chapter of my life and move on."

Mike Hamilton

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

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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.

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Comments » 318

UTKin1992 writes:

HALLELUJAH!

joseph_mccarthy writes:

UT Athletics is really of no interest to me. However, after reading so many negative things about this guy...it's about time!

redneckjustice writes:

1st step in the right direction...

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

The only way to kill a snake is to cut the head off.

IT'S ABOUT TIME!

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!

MrWilson writes:

Mr. Hamilton claimed when he was named the AD that he wanted to reconnect with the common fan. In my opinion he has done just the opposite. The common ET fan can no longer afford to attend UT sporting events as the price of donation and tickets is out of reach. I guess that is why they hired IMG to try to sell all the season tickets that UT could not sell.

Beaver writes:

in response to redneckjustice:

1st step in the right direction...

Not the first step. The hiring of Dooley and Martin were the first steps. But this is another significant one. I believe the UT Vols are on their way back. It will take some time, but we're coming.

IMO writes:

Don't let the screen door hit you where the good Lord split you.

rdavidso writes:

What a beautiful day. Wonder if this will have any impact regarding the upcoming NCAA meeting and the related punishments (I would doubt it). Know the violations are mostly aimed at the coaches and their respective staffs, but all were hired by Hammy and were under his watch

silverstang writes:

nah na nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!

Volunatic writes:

This is probably for the best. Compliance was not his strong point, and it will be better to have someone who doesn't have a history of missing infractions at the head of the Athletic Dept when UT goes before the COI.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Crucial now to make the right hire. Very crucial.
Most likely, whomever it will be..........noone has ever heard of him. Unlike replacing a coach.

Scary maybe if Cheek is involved...........that may be cruel of me, but he has also been in not so popular conversations.

SIMSVOL writes:

Bad move. But it's done now. Sounds like nothing more than a personality conflict at the top - Hamilton has done an incredible job raising funds and bringing in talented coaches. Let's hope they don't add insult to injury by hiring a real dud - like Fulmer. Get some fresh blood in the AD office and let's take some big steps forward, not backward... Go VOLS!

VOLsince68 writes:

It's about time! Good man, but wrong for this job.

GO VOLS!!!!!!

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

Time to hire Fulmer!!

shipperman#280095 writes:

This was a resignation of his own choosing. How would you like some of you fair weather fans threatening you and your family? Some of you are such hypocrites

AlcoVOLic writes:

Not necessarily pleased with this, but it was going to happen. He's done a lot of good in his time at UT, just look at our endowment, but when you've got as many coaching blunders as he's hired, it had to happen (cheers on Dooley, and hopefully Martin). Good luck, Hammy. The casual fan won't realize your contributions, but that's the nature of the gig.

As an old-schooler, I'll start the chant for AD Fulmer! You can't buy that kind of loyalty!

Chartervol writes:

Chris Fuller is fully able to handle the situation in Indianapolis this weekend. In fact, he's been the de facto AD for a while now. He was the point man in the Martin hire.

BillsBrother writes:

Hello, Mr Grunfeld. We have an opening for you. Yes, it pays less and there is not as much prestige, but east Tennessee is a beautiful place to live...

orangeman1 writes:

You know Fulmer is smiling right about now. I do think he would make a good AD considering his experience running the most important program in sports for 17 years and doing it so well.

voloffaith writes:

So happy for all of you that have wanted his exit. Now you have it. The next question many will raise is what will you complain about next? Don't get me wrong red X was on him at upcoming nC2a as too "lack of institutional control." The coaches in violation were his so they/he knew he was going to be lumped in as their AD. He raised alot of money for UT and upgraded facilities very well....that hiring thing a few years back bit him and now as they say,"the chickens have come home to roost." I wish him well in his future endeavors and hope he learned some new life lessons (though hard ones) from this experience. PS I think part,though minor, was to keep this off family as well. Moving on where do they go for new AD? No it won't be former Coach Fulmer...

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to joseph_mccarthy:

UT Athletics is really of no interest to me. However, after reading so many negative things about this guy...it's about time!

"ut athletics has no interest to me"? yet you're on govols.com website.

rdavidso writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

Bad move. But it's done now. Sounds like nothing more than a personality conflict at the top - Hamilton has done an incredible job raising funds and bringing in talented coaches. Let's hope they don't add insult to injury by hiring a real dud - like Fulmer. Get some fresh blood in the AD office and let's take some big steps forward, not backward... Go VOLS!

I hope your comment was meant to be sarcastic, because if it wasn't you really have no idea what you're talking about. Nothing more than a personality conflict? And talented coaches? Ummm, did you forget about the hirings of Kiffin, Pearl, and Raleigh? Sure, Pearl was a good coach, but he's put us in a ton of trouble, and Hammilton couldn't have handled the firing any worse (in addition to the handling of Fulmer's firing). I'm going to go out on a limb and say Hammy's firing has nothing to do with a personality conflict but has everything to do with the state of the program and the hate the majority of Vols fans have for him. The UT men's athletic program has been on a nosedive ever since he came on board my friend

thevoice writes:

Interesting timing. I would have thought Mike would have best-represented UT at the NCAA hearings soon. Now, UT will really have no one except attorneys. Mike's the one who could have mitigated penalties for the school, knowing where to lay blame for the Kiffin and Pearl misconducts. Maybe the NCAA will view the resignation favorably though.

jimr07 writes:

in response to VOLinMAHWAH:

Time to hire Fulmer!!

would be the worst thing possible to hire him.

Wayfarer writes:

Thank you for the time and effort you given to UT, Mr Hamilton.

Bring Ernie Grunfeld in from the Wizards. He has the experience and he is a Volunteer.

Galaxie500XL writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

This was a resignation of his own choosing. How would you like some of you fair weather fans threatening you and your family? Some of you are such hypocrites

Well, NOW he'll have the time to talk to our former baseball coach...you know, the one he couldn't manage to talk to since the Christmas Party?

FearlessFreep writes:

This will set the baseball program back two years.

I can't help but wonder if the timing is deliberate. UT likely presented their case to the board and after examining the facts it became clear that Hamilton's lack of control was an issue and it would be a serious risk to retain him due to potential sanctions.

Plus they probably didn't want him to make the baseball hire either if the decision to can him had been made.

Ugh ... sad days for UT athletics, all self-inflicted. Thankfully, the root cause of much of it is on the way out.

thevoice writes:

Thanks for all you've done. Your resignation is likely the best for all parties involved. Best wishes, Mike and God bless.

Volsrbest writes:

Grunfield, Fulmer or Condridge Holloway would be good, but probably will be someone we are not familiar with.

Classof72 writes:

John Ward taught us that the purpose of UT athletics was to strengthen the bonds between the people of Tennessee and their state university, in order to further the university's mission of service to the people. UTAD had 'de-Vol-ved' to the point of being a catering service for corporate marketing and entertainment. For example, the football team was not accompanied to Memphis by the Pride of the Southland Band. It didn't pay, but that band does as much as anyone to help the people of Tennessee fall in love with UTK. There's now an opportunity to serve the university and the state, or merely to continue to build a corporate marketing and entertainment consulting firm. There is little reason for optimism.

miketn6 writes:

Finally. Now, the healing can begin. Good luck Mr. Hamilton, but I won't miss you as AD.

kevin151 writes:

Hell Yeah

shipperman#280095 writes:

To all that say Fulmer ran such a clean program, he was being investigated for payments to Tee Martin, and he turned Alabama in and got the heat off

tmartin writes:

I appreciate all that Fulmer did for the University. But he is NOT the man for the job. He is not a visionary and couldnt even hire quality assistants (they were already there when he took over) or fire assistants that needed to be fired. Nor is he a businessman.

And If loyalty is all that is required, hire me. I've sacrificed all kinds of time and money to watch this mess. How many games has Fulmer been at since he was fired??

VolMoment writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

Bad move. But it's done now. Sounds like nothing more than a personality conflict at the top - Hamilton has done an incredible job raising funds and bringing in talented coaches. Let's hope they don't add insult to injury by hiring a real dud - like Fulmer. Get some fresh blood in the AD office and let's take some big steps forward, not backward... Go VOLS!

I agree. These other postors have no idea of what goes on in a department like this. Some Pearl fans now blame Mike for the Pearl hire. You can't have it both ways.
I was a Fulmer fan, but I will stop my donations if we hire Phil because of his "loyality". Phil is not the person people make out to be. In all his years he kept getting big raises and never talked up his assist. coaches getting more money. The Chief went to LSU and doubled his salaries. Yeal, lets hire a man that is all about Phil.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Oliver Luck

thevoice writes:

in response to Wayfarer:

Thank you for the time and effort you given to UT, Mr Hamilton.

Bring Ernie Grunfeld in from the Wizards. He has the experience and he is a Volunteer.

I like your replacement choice. I think other names the university will consider include Fuller, Fulmer, and Holloway. Heck, I'll do it for only $250,000/yr.

DeeBee writes:

Ernie Grunfield, at least ask him, don't know if he would take a step down or not, but he would be the most experienced in management type sports situations, and a former vol.

Jimbobsopinion writes:

in response to VOLinMAHWAH:

Time to hire Fulmer!!

Fulmer doesn't want the job,I hope. Let's get some new blood who is not affiliated with Cheeks people,

gizmo2009 writes:

Fulmer would be perfect. The biggest part of being AD is Public Relations. Phil is well known and would be great. He can also raise money. The coaching keys are in place so the only coach to be hired is baseball. Phil would unite the Vol Nation.

MusicCityVol writes:

Gotta wonder if the NCAA got to the BOD and encouraged them to make this decision. In terms of the sanctions this could be really good or it could be a sign that things are going to be really bad.

http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

farragutfanatic writes:

tee martin for UT AD!

Huttdawg100 writes:

Ernie Grunfeld

Vol_in_VA writes:

Bruce Pearl for Athletic Director!

XD

Huttdawg100 writes:

The next AD has to have AD experience. We have got to get a guy with experience.

GOJO writes:

Could we please secure an A.D. that knows something about athletics instead of a pencil pusher & bean counter this time?

Galaxie500XL writes:

There's always Johnny Majors....

WKC writes:

Orange blood is what we need! The negatives about Fulmer was loyality to assistants, not NCAA troubles. Sports knowledge for an AD is a requirement. Who better to lead the Young UT coaching staff into the Orange future than a REAL UT man. He already knows the University, the tradition, the facilities and he and Pat get along just fine.

idiot writes:

Charles Davis would be perfect.. Attractive,articulate,knows all sports,experienced,alumni,leader,minority,everything we need. Only problem,may be too successful where he is. Pay whatever it takes.

tree_em_smokey writes:

It was definately time. Hope we get someone who thinks before they act (speak)....NCAA tournament!

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