David Climer: UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek's track record won't help athletics director search

UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek listens as UT athletic director Mike Hamilton announces his resignation at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on June 7, 2011.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek listens as UT athletic director Mike Hamilton announces his resignation at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on June 7, 2011.

He will appoint a committee and seek outside advice, but University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek ultimately will select UT’s next athletics director.

A word of caution to Vols fans: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Nothing he has done during the entire Bruce Pearl/ Mike Hamilton saga indicates that Cheek has a clue about the inner workings of the $100 million-a-year enterprise that is the UT Athletics Department.

I don’t know Cheek personally but I’ve heard some good and some bad things about him. Frankly, unless the university goes broke, it’s difficult to tell what kind of job the chancellor is doing.

Continue reading at The Tennessean.

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Comments » 42

VOLliven2it writes:

The cheekieness of this guy just may make it hard to get someone really good to be the next AD at the University of Tennessee. So we watch, we wait and anticipate probably not a pretty scene as this unfolds unless Cheek gets people who do know what they are doing to be on the committee. Gonna be a bumpy ride, this weekend and in the search.

VolzsFan writes:

Cheek reports to the President. The President reports to the Governor. We know who the Governor is. Therefore, we know that Cheek will have as much to do with the hiring of an AD as the guy sweeping up the steps at the stadium. In other words stop worrying about Cheek.

PEYDAY writes:

Cheek is the same guy that said that he approved of the job Hamilton was doing... Seriously?!? Climer is spot on with this. Things are not going to get any better until Cheek is gone also.

budd#207344 writes:

So climer who should we get as chancellor? Gordon Gee maybe?

RespectYourElders writes:

I wouldn't want to work for someone who wouldn't stand up for me in adversity. But, he obviously knew when it was time for a change.

spencer1989#206886 writes:

"UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek's track record won't help athletics director search"

I totally agree...And the reason I have stated he is another that needs to work for "Patting & Turning" (patting the streets and turning the corners looking for a job). A picture speaks a 1000 words sometimes....And I couldn't imagine working for him (or actually reacting to the puppet string pulling).

Chartervol writes:

Well it only took two posts for someone to announce this will be a Haslam job. There are some who think the Deity waits on the Haslams to tell him when to raise the sun in the morning.

Seriously, the president (who is doing an admirable job of not meddling in campus business, following the Holt/Boling/Johnson model) and the trustees will be heavily involved in the process.

That said, Climer is about right on Cheek. Not a confidence-inspiring figure.

jskid writes:

The only thing I disagree with in this article is Climer's contention that, essentially, this was all Pearl's fault. Give it a rest! Pearl was the proverbial straw, but the UTAD had major problems prior to Pearl.

Don,t look for Coach Fulmer as AD; Cheek ain't gonna hire someone he had hand in firing. Personally, I think Conredge Holloway would be an excellent choice. He's a class act folks, and has experience in athletic administration.

OrangePride writes:

My goodness, David, sometimes your monumental ability to state the obvious astounds me. I began this article thinking you had perhaps some deeper insight or understanding that went beyond just the Pearl situation. But no, all you did was reprise what posters all over this board have been saying for months. And no, I'm not afraid, at least not based on anything your article said. As long as Cheeks has some good people on this committee (like Pat Summitt), then I am relatively comfortable with the process and willing to see what names ultimately get to floor. Boy this was a weak piece....you need to be better.

Volunatic writes:

Well, if Climer doesn't think Cheek will make a good choice, then I think it is quite possible that Cheek will make a good choice.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Climer has a point here. If I am on the COI, I will want to know from UT what safeguards are in place now to do a better job in the future. And knowing that a higher up who endorsed Pearl even after learning of what he did was still in the chain of athletics command would not make me feel very secure. Perhaps UT should re-organize and announce that DiPietro will be the direct boss of the AD.

tenndave writes:

FULMER!!! Yesssssssss!!!!

drone#208075 writes:

No Fulmer.........

ZacharyUTK writes:

What Tennessee needs in their new AD:

1) Someone who knows how to put a good face back on the University.

2) Someone who is able to raise funds for various athletic organizations on campus.

3) Someone who loves Tennessee and will work hard for her.

4) Someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the SEC.

5) Someone who knows what it takes to win, so that when he sees that in other coaches, he can make intelligent hiring decisions.

6) Someone with character and class.

7) Someone who is familiar with NCAA rules and regulations.

8) Someone the fanbase can rally around.

All of these things sound like Phil Fulmer. Before people go running him down as a tremendous choice for AD, consider all of these things. I believe that Fulmer would be a brilliant hire for Tennessee, and would show the entire nation that our university is dedicated to returning to our winning and respected ways.

NovemberNed writes:

Funny how people forget that Fulmer is ultimately responsible for the current state of our football program. Kiffin and attrition never happen if Fulmer doesn't drive our program into the ground. Sure, let's hire the catalyst for one of the darkest periods in Tennessee Football.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

I agree that Cheek doesn't inspire confidence in making this hire, but I will hope for the best.

I nearly spit my coffee out when I read that Climer had a list of suggestions. Climer is about as qualified as my wife to find the next athletic director at UT.

I would like to see his list, just to make sure we DIDN'T hire any of them!

Volunatic writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

John Adams had a similar assessment about Cheek yesterday.

Highlands_Whisky writes:

Paul Finebaum thinks Fulmer would be a good choice. He thinks Fulmer would help to heal the fractures in the athletic department. Evidently, there are numerous "camps" within the Athletic Dept, each with their own agendas.

If Finebaum thinks it's a good hire, I'm inclined to wholeheartedly DISAGREE!

I would like to see a "take no prisoners" AD who will force people in the Ath Dept to get in line or GTFO. I'd like to see someone with a lot of the qualities Dooley has- intelligence, the ability to relate to anyone regardless of social strata, and hyper organized. Fulmer might be a good hire on some fronts, but I don't see how Cheek could want him there after signing off on Fulmer's firing.

There has to be a group of up-n-comers that can help rally the Ath Dept and the fan base around the love of UT.

rockytom writes:

Wouldn't it be great if we were all as concerned about controlling tuition costs and the cost of running UTK's campus as we are about our athletics?

DutchOrangeVolsOrange writes:

in response to Highlands_Whisky:

Paul Finebaum thinks Fulmer would be a good choice. He thinks Fulmer would help to heal the fractures in the athletic department. Evidently, there are numerous "camps" within the Athletic Dept, each with their own agendas.

If Finebaum thinks it's a good hire, I'm inclined to wholeheartedly DISAGREE!

I would like to see a "take no prisoners" AD who will force people in the Ath Dept to get in line or GTFO. I'd like to see someone with a lot of the qualities Dooley has- intelligence, the ability to relate to anyone regardless of social strata, and hyper organized. Fulmer might be a good hire on some fronts, but I don't see how Cheek could want him there after signing off on Fulmer's firing.

There has to be a group of up-n-comers that can help rally the Ath Dept and the fan base around the love of UT.

Look, Someone just yesterday asked Paul Finebaum if he hated Tennessee. Finebaum said something such as I like UT as much as one can living in Alabama. I think being a vocal UT Vol fan in a state like Alabama would be hard if not dangerous.

I like Coach Fulmer as the AD. I know many of You want some high powered Yuppie or upwardly mobile corporate quaffed haircut type to come in and save UT. ::Eyeroll:: The idea of Coach Fulmer getting the job appeals to me. David Climer does not like it? Since when did we take this Guy so damn seriously.

DutchOrangeVolsOrange writes:

Of course the powers that be do not give a rat's @@@ on who I think should be the new AD. LOL

FarmerVol writes:

The fact an education guy gets his hands on the athletic dept check book is scary enough. Why would Cheeky give Hammy what amounts to a bonus on top of his $600K salary for doing such a lousy job to leave? Education guys are in the business of spending, not making money. It isn't education money so - who cares?? This really stinks.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Chartervol:

Well it only took two posts for someone to announce this will be a Haslam job. There are some who think the Deity waits on the Haslams to tell him when to raise the sun in the morning.

Seriously, the president (who is doing an admirable job of not meddling in campus business, following the Holt/Boling/Johnson model) and the trustees will be heavily involved in the process.

That said, Climer is about right on Cheek. Not a confidence-inspiring figure.

"There are some who think the Deity waits on the Haslams to tell him when to raise the sun in the morning."

I thought that was Pat Summitt's job.

NashvillePreds writes:

Climer has lost any sense of credibility, over the past 2-3 years. I used to really enjoy his columns, when I was growing up in Nashville.
He has now devolved into a cheap-shot artist, and pessimistic drone.
Climer clearly states he has no idea whom Cheek is, and then analyzes his decision making abilities. The President, Board, and Governor will be involved in this process.
The notion that it is all Cheek is asinine.
The sports columnists in Nashville take marching orders from Gannett, and those orders are to sell papers. What sells papers? Sex or controversy. Since Cheek is not Anthony Weiner, Climer dives into whatever controversy he can manage.
It's a hack piece, written by a columnist whom is struggling for a readership.
GO VOLS

budd#207344 writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Climer has lost any sense of credibility, over the past 2-3 years. I used to really enjoy his columns, when I was growing up in Nashville.
He has now devolved into a cheap-shot artist, and pessimistic drone.
Climer clearly states he has no idea whom Cheek is, and then analyzes his decision making abilities. The President, Board, and Governor will be involved in this process.
The notion that it is all Cheek is asinine.
The sports columnists in Nashville take marching orders from Gannett, and those orders are to sell papers. What sells papers? Sex or controversy. Since Cheek is not Anthony Weiner, Climer dives into whatever controversy he can manage.
It's a hack piece, written by a columnist whom is struggling for a readership.
GO VOLS

Your comparison of Cheek and Weiner gave me a vision that will haunt me for years. LOL

ddt#1340890 writes:

in response to PEYDAY:

Cheek is the same guy that said that he approved of the job Hamilton was doing... Seriously?!? Climer is spot on with this. Things are not going to get any better until Cheek is gone also.

U r right on with this. Cheeks should have been fired before Hamilton. But I want whoever forced the resignation of CBP. If a university accepts his apology and says they will stand behind him then they should. Someone listened too much to Vol hating ESPN and grew a yellow streak down their back.

BreatheUT writes:

I personally think Climer just needs to stfu.

NOLVOLFAN writes:

in response to NovemberNed:

Funny how people forget that Fulmer is ultimately responsible for the current state of our football program. Kiffin and attrition never happen if Fulmer doesn't drive our program into the ground. Sure, let's hire the catalyst for one of the darkest periods in Tennessee Football.

I do not have an opinion on Fulmer as the AD. But for those who point to his final years as a coach should disqualify him. The fact is, his coaching ability has nothing to do with his ability to manage an athletic department. He will not be responsible for recruiting or coaching the teams. The fan base has no way of knowing what his ability is concerning the AD position. I for one would not want people who do not personally know me, to judge my ablitiy to perform in a specific position that they have no idea of what the requirements might be for the job.

punkin writes:

in response to ZacharyUTK:

What Tennessee needs in their new AD:

1) Someone who knows how to put a good face back on the University.

2) Someone who is able to raise funds for various athletic organizations on campus.

3) Someone who loves Tennessee and will work hard for her.

4) Someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the SEC.

5) Someone who knows what it takes to win, so that when he sees that in other coaches, he can make intelligent hiring decisions.

6) Someone with character and class.

7) Someone who is familiar with NCAA rules and regulations.

8) Someone the fanbase can rally around.

All of these things sound like Phil Fulmer. Before people go running him down as a tremendous choice for AD, consider all of these things. I believe that Fulmer would be a brilliant hire for Tennessee, and would show the entire nation that our university is dedicated to returning to our winning and respected ways.

1. Not Fulmer's face
2. This job ain't selling a dozen Krispy Kreme's for 10 bucks.
3. Can't argue that.
4. Fulmer should know the "ins and outs" from the SEC, most of them were in his backside from our biggest rivals.
5. He lost that in 99.
6. Anybody but CPF.
7. Go back and check the police blotter.
8. Neyland Stadium will be half empty with Fulmer back on the sidelines.(and he will be)

climberNeeds2workATwendys writes:

climber,the yankee,needs to get another job before he puts his newspaper in the ground.If he left,their subscriptions would rise dramatically.

carbonzip writes:

Cheek laid the groundwork for his own departure with Hamilton buyout

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

in response to budd#207344:

So climer who should we get as chancellor? Gordon Gee maybe?

That's a good point, because Gordon Gee is the ONLY possible candidate for chancellor in America. Way to poke a hole in Climer's argument by pretending that there are no other possible candidates that could do Cheek's job better. UT should just wallow in the mediocrity of it's current administration and never try to better itself.

How about you try to meet Climer's argument next time instead of just throwing one bad example out and pretending like you know something.

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

I'm not going to rip Coach Fulmer, but he just isn't right for the AD job. Not because he isn't a good person, but because UT needs a proven, successful administrator to bring us back to athletic prominence in the next decade. We need to stop being delusional and pretending that the most important thing for a new AD is that they be "loyal" to UT. "Competency" and "talent" are the qualities UT should be looking for. Imagine if GE or Microsoft needed a new CEO to turn around their company and they limited their hire to ONLY those candidates that had worked for them. Their shareholders would be scratching their heads. UT needs to cast a wide net.

I know, I know...Jimmy Cheek is really a Florida guy and aren't I being hypocritical?
Well, the problem with Jimmy Cheek isn't that he came from Florida. Cheek's problem is that he has no idea what the H E L L he is doing. We need to bring in a tough as nails candidate that knows athletic administration, has a track record of proven, quality hires at a major or mid-major program, and is capable enough to make sure that Cheek doesn't feel the need to interfere.

Fulmer just isn't that guy. Remember how he wouldn't promote Trooper Taylor to Offensive Coordinator because he wanted someone with play calling experience? Well, Fulmer has no play calling experience at the AD level. I'm sure he will understand.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to RespectYourElders:

I wouldn't want to work for someone who wouldn't stand up for me in adversity. But, he obviously knew when it was time for a change.

I agree. I just can't believe that UT has a bad staff. They didn't just fall apart they have been pretty darn good in the past. So I think I will just shut up.

Vol1983 writes:

Jimmy Cheek has failed in his job. He needs to be fired to ever have a chance of bringing this program back.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Well, if Climer doesn't think Cheek will make a good choice, then I think it is quite possible that Cheek will make a good choice.

Cheek made an EXCELLENT choice for interim AD.

FWBVol writes:

in response to VolAlum03ISBACK:

I'm not going to rip Coach Fulmer, but he just isn't right for the AD job. Not because he isn't a good person, but because UT needs a proven, successful administrator to bring us back to athletic prominence in the next decade. We need to stop being delusional and pretending that the most important thing for a new AD is that they be "loyal" to UT. "Competency" and "talent" are the qualities UT should be looking for. Imagine if GE or Microsoft needed a new CEO to turn around their company and they limited their hire to ONLY those candidates that had worked for them. Their shareholders would be scratching their heads. UT needs to cast a wide net.

I know, I know...Jimmy Cheek is really a Florida guy and aren't I being hypocritical?
Well, the problem with Jimmy Cheek isn't that he came from Florida. Cheek's problem is that he has no idea what the H E L L he is doing. We need to bring in a tough as nails candidate that knows athletic administration, has a track record of proven, quality hires at a major or mid-major program, and is capable enough to make sure that Cheek doesn't feel the need to interfere.

Fulmer just isn't that guy. Remember how he wouldn't promote Trooper Taylor to Offensive Coordinator because he wanted someone with play calling experience? Well, Fulmer has no play calling experience at the AD level. I'm sure he will understand.

And the funny thing is that three or four years later Trooper still hasn't been given a shot as a play-calling OC. Maybe Fulmer isn't the only one that doesn't think Trooper can't call plays.

I do understand what you are saying about Phillip Fulmer though and you make some valid points. I believe that Fulmer would be just as qualified as someone with a similar background to Mike Hamilton eight years ago.

Just because someone has been the second in command of an athletic program, or a football team for that matter, it doesn't mean they are capable of running the show.

The fact is, unless we get a man or woman with previous AD experience at that has similar demographics to UT as far as size of athletic program, conference affiliation, etc., we are still rolling the dice and taking a chance.

OwensboroVol writes:

I am a University of Tennessee Graduate. Dr. Andy Holt was the President when I enrolled. Nothing can be said about him other than he was a Great Man and a Great University President. In the 49 years since I arrived at THE University campus in 1962 I have done many things. I have met, married, and done business with many other Tennessee Graduates. One thing that has always impressed me is the love a vast majority of these graduates have for THE University. I have seen many who's talent and intelligence was so great that you left their presence in awe. I don't understand WHY we have to hire University of Florida people when so many University of Tennessee graduates, who are beyond reproach in their qualifications, are available. I believe that Jimmy Cheek is the last person left who gave the Athletic Department the problems that are currently faced. He should be terminated as soon as possible and a qualified University of Tennessee graduate hired for this position. That will give us a clean start with all new personnel. A situation demanded as well as wanted because of our current situation.

Titan writes:

in response to climberNeeds2workATwendys:

climber,the yankee,needs to get another job before he puts his newspaper in the ground.If he left,their subscriptions would rise dramatically.

Climer may act like a yankee, but he's actually from Lebanon. That newspaper, The Thinnessean, went into the ground several years ago. Lots of days, the sports section is four pages - and that's only because they can't figure out how to make it two!

Titan writes:

in response to Highlands_Whisky:

Paul Finebaum thinks Fulmer would be a good choice. He thinks Fulmer would help to heal the fractures in the athletic department. Evidently, there are numerous "camps" within the Athletic Dept, each with their own agendas.

If Finebaum thinks it's a good hire, I'm inclined to wholeheartedly DISAGREE!

I would like to see a "take no prisoners" AD who will force people in the Ath Dept to get in line or GTFO. I'd like to see someone with a lot of the qualities Dooley has- intelligence, the ability to relate to anyone regardless of social strata, and hyper organized. Fulmer might be a good hire on some fronts, but I don't see how Cheek could want him there after signing off on Fulmer's firing.

There has to be a group of up-n-comers that can help rally the Ath Dept and the fan base around the love of UT.

Fulmer was fired in November 2008. Cheek's hiring was announced in October 2008 but he didn't come on board until February 2009. How much input he had on CPF's firing is debatable.

stevefrommemphis writes:

So, what's new? Hss the Knoxville campus ever had a decent Chancellor? Perhaps a lot of the blame should be directed toward the Board of Trustees, but when I was in school, they had Jack Reese, who fully supported the idea that any idiot who could show proof of immunizations and vaccinations could come to UT and goof off for a year, then get kicked out. A new crop of misfits showed up every fall to crowd the campus and make life difficult for the students who wanted to and were capable of learning something. I was very happy to graduate and get out of Knoxville -- skipped graduation and went fishing.

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