Joan Cronan named interim vice chancellor; will oversee entire athletics department

Joan Cronan speaks about being named UT's interim athletic director

Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton and women's athletic director Joan Cronan take part in the Volscars event April 25, 2011 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Photo by Wade Payne

Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton and women's athletic director Joan Cronan take part in the Volscars event April 25, 2011 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The change at the top of the University of Tennessee’s athletic department will now feature a brand new view.

When UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and his search committee settle on a replacement for departing men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton, who announced his resignation Tuesday, they’ll be filling a position that’s never existed in a department that was on its way, but had not yet fully embraced a complete unification.

Joan Cronan, UT’s longtime women’s athletic director, was named the university’s interim vice chancellor/director of athletics Thursday.

In June 2012, however, she will leave her post and take on the role as a senior adviser to the school’s vice chancellor and chancellor through June 2014. Her position won’t be filled, as the school’s new hire, which is expected to be made in the next six to eight weeks, will oversee the entire athletic department.

It marks a long-anticipated, yet still significant, change to one of the nation’s largest athletic departments, which bucked a nationwide trend of putting all sports under one roof in response to the Title IX movement.

“When you have administrative changes, such as a resignation, it’s also the right time to make structural changes if they’re needed,” Cheek said in a statement to the News Sentinel. “Joan was fully in favor of combining departments and having one director.

“This puts us in a stronger position as we search for the next athletic director.”

UT and the University of Texas are the only two of more than 300 Division I schools in the country with separate departments for men’s and women’s athletics.

Most schools merged their respective departments during the 1970s and ’80s because of Title IX legislation, which put men’s and women’s college athletics on equal footing through federal laws.

The most recent transition was in 2007, when the University of Arkansas merged its two departments under similar circumstances.

The sustained success of the Pat Summitt-led women’s basketball program provided a strong backbone to the Lady Vols’ brand, which features 10 sports and includes a distinct logo, color scheme and website.

And that’s not expected to change, Cronan said, even though some behind-the-scenes “tweaking” will bring about differences to the overall structure.

“I can’t say what we did was not successful, because it was,” Cronan said. “I think as we go to the future, we tweak things.

“I didn’t want the Lady Vols to lose their identity or their voice, and that’s not going to happen in this transition.”

Summitt, who Cheek consulted before promoting Cronan to her new post, said she wasn’t sure that the departments would inevitably merge, but stressed she had “no reservations” with the transition.

“It may be the best way to go,” Summitt said.

Cronan, 67, was short on specifics when it came to the remaining changes the department must implement before she moves into her new role.

In recent years, the UT athletic department had already combined its previously separate media relations departments, ticket offices and compliance staffs.

Cronan said she doesn’t expect the transition to cut or add costs into the future.

“I think it’s a flat line,” Cronan said. “I think it’s just a matter of doing things right.”

Cronan, who makes an annual salary of $225,000 plus bonuses, will not receive a raise and did not have her contract altered despite her shift in positions.

Hamilton’s resignation is effective June 30.

Cheek said he and a committee, which “represents the faculty, staff and athletic programs” and also includes Cronan, are currently embarking on a nationwide search to replace Hamilton.

Cronan, who has 38 years of experience as an athletic director and has spent the previous 29 at UT, will not be among the candidates.

“I love the title interim athletic director,” Cronan joked, “and I’m looking forward to being a part of the search.”

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

Comments » 160

Cole423 writes:

well it's a good start

HoustonVol writes:

good choice. She would be a good choice to oversee the entire department. UT is one of the few universities to have a men's and women's AD position. It would be a good time to merge the departments and save money by eliminating duplicate staffs.

TommyJack writes:

TJ has no problem with it.

ORANGUTANVOL writes:

BU, BU, BUT shes a WOMAN.

brokebackvol writes:

Good for Joan and good for UT - she's all classs!

thevoice writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

BU, BU, BUT shes a WOMAN.

Yeah, but hopefully she'll put the fear of God in her subordinates.

OLEVOLFAN writes:

WE NEED FULMER!!!! Come on people quit being STUPID!!

kevin151 writes:

Good for him

JeffersonSmithofMiiiiiilanTennessee writes:

perfect... a person who oversees an athletic department that has exactly ZERO revenue producing sports is going to run a 100 million dollar plus operation for the next few months... seems logical

newtonrail writes:

I expect to see one AD after her retirement, which will be shortly after hiring another AD. They had already combined many functions in the last two years that had been separate to save $$$.

OLEVOLFAN writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

WE NEED FULMER!!!! Come on people quit being STUPID!!

Not that im saying Joan is not good she is a great pick for now But Fulmer will be the next AD you can book it!!

keepitreal4vols writes:

Men, you better not leave the seat up...

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

I can't remember if she has ever had to fire a coach. I don't see that being necessary anytime soon, but I wonder if she can pull the trigger.

volfaninchattanooga writes:

You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

Not that im saying Joan is not good she is a great pick for now But Fulmer will be the next AD you can book it!!

Keep dreaming brother, no way Fulmer is the next AD. BOOK THAT

blewissmith writes:

Make Joan the AD and do away with the split AD departments.

movol77 writes:

Good interim move.

jeff1vol writes:

She hasn't HAD to fire a coach in a while because she MAKES DAMN GOOD HIRES!!!!!!!!! Anyone with a brain stem can see this is a VERY good move. Hell...I'd let her run the whole damn show!!! The LV's have more trophies in their cases than the men's program will see in the next 20 yrs!!! Hire Joan!!! GO VOLS!!

mistermango writes:

You people do know what the term "interim" means, right? You do know this is temporary?

tmartin writes:

Just when we all thought things couldn't possibly get any worse.

RJ_Vol writes:

Go get'em, Joan.

movol77 writes:

in response to mistermango:

You people do know what the term "interim" means, right? You do know this is temporary?

Point.

tmartin writes:

in response to jeff1vol:

She hasn't HAD to fire a coach in a while because she MAKES DAMN GOOD HIRES!!!!!!!!! Anyone with a brain stem can see this is a VERY good move. Hell...I'd let her run the whole damn show!!! The LV's have more trophies in their cases than the men's program will see in the next 20 yrs!!! Hire Joan!!! GO VOLS!!

Hires?? What hires?? Pat Summitt pre-dates everything at UT except for maybe Ayres Hall. Dont say Weekly either, they had one good player in Abbott and that in itself has recruited other players. But they have the UT curse because they have choked time and time again when they should have won.

liberalvol writes:

Get out of the way Boys, the Girls have broken through.

This position may be temporary, but when it is over, her job description changes.

Power to the Girl people!!

mistermango writes:

in response to mistermango:

You people do know what the term "interim" means, right? You do know this is temporary?

Let me clarify...I think this is a great move. I think Joan would make for a doggone good hire. But right now this is temporary. Nothing more or less.

That said, I'd rather her spend the afternoon calling baseball signees than talking to the media.

chicknleggs writes:

in response to jeff1vol:

She hasn't HAD to fire a coach in a while because she MAKES DAMN GOOD HIRES!!!!!!!!! Anyone with a brain stem can see this is a VERY good move. Hell...I'd let her run the whole damn show!!! The LV's have more trophies in their cases than the men's program will see in the next 20 yrs!!! Hire Joan!!! GO VOLS!!

Hahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!! Great hire!

tmartin writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

WE NEED FULMER!!!! Come on people quit being STUPID!!

Obviously you dont practice what you preach.

But dont worry, he isnt going anywhere, he has proven that for the last 3 years. No one else wants him for football or anything. But after 4 or 5 good candidates turn the job down, they will have to settle for Fulmer and mediocrity will continue to reign at UT

RespectYourElders writes:

in response to tmartin:

Just when we all thought things couldn't possibly get any worse.

Do you not know the fantastic job Joan has done so far this past 30 years? Or are you just a chauvinist? If you don't think the coaches will take direction from Joan, you don't know anything about her. And, since when are the Lady Vols a zero revenue producing team? Congratulations, Joan! Sometimes an interim position turns into a permanent one if you want it. You never know.

And, to all you complainers, a fable.

There once was a man who, not being able to find any other fault with his coal, complained that there were too many prehistoric toads in it.

Stop pre-judging her ability and sit back and watch. I'll guarantee you she'll do a better job than any of you.

RespectYourElders writes:

in response to volfaninchattanooga:

You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.

See ya, bye!

mnvol writes:

Since the title is "interim", it's a logical move. You "real men" out there need to relax. The permanent hire is to be in place by the end of the summer. She is certainly capable of keeping things running till then. One doesn't run a successful athletics department - men's or women's - as long as Joan has without "having some gonads" (figuratively speaking, of course).

jjsteel writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

WE NEED FULMER!!!! Come on people quit being STUPID!!

stupid is as stupid does

NovemberNed writes:

Has nothing to do with being a Man or a Woman.

Lady Vol athletics lose money. Let's give their athletic director a more prominent role. Well done Cheek.... Well done.

RespectYourElders writes:

in response to RespectYourElders:

Do you not know the fantastic job Joan has done so far this past 30 years? Or are you just a chauvinist? If you don't think the coaches will take direction from Joan, you don't know anything about her. And, since when are the Lady Vols a zero revenue producing team? Congratulations, Joan! Sometimes an interim position turns into a permanent one if you want it. You never know.

And, to all you complainers, a fable.

There once was a man who, not being able to find any other fault with his coal, complained that there were too many prehistoric toads in it.

Stop pre-judging her ability and sit back and watch. I'll guarantee you she'll do a better job than any of you.

tmartin, I apologize. The bulk of this comment was addressed to volfaninchattanooga, not you. Sorry.

OLEVOLFAN writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Keep dreaming brother, no way Fulmer is the next AD. BOOK THAT

YOU WATCH AND SEE!!

sec_fan writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

WE NEED FULMER!!!! Come on people quit being STUPID!!

Hey were not the one trying to bring in a person who was fired for lack of discipline and questionable evaluation of talent to replace someone fired for the same reason.

wildmed writes:

Good move by Chancellor Cheek and it's about time someone at my university made one! Now let's move forward and bring in a new AD with integrity, vision and a proven skill set! GBO!!

PEYDAY writes:

Good fit for the interim. At least she does have some type of AD experience. I'm still worried about Cheek... I don't expect things to improve much until he is no longer involved. So does the phrase "senior administrator of entire athletics department" mean that Cheek wont have any say anymore?

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

YOU WATCH AND SEE!!

I know it to be a fact old buddy

budd#207344 writes:

in response to volfaninchattanooga:

You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.

Please stay away after the change is made as well. We don't need you

OLEVOLFAN writes:

in response to sec_fan:

Hey were not the one trying to bring in a person who was fired for lack of discipline and questionable evaluation of talent to replace someone fired for the same reason.

No they just fired one of the Best DAMN coaches in SEC history!! So he would make a Damn good AD! Everyone thinks UT has 1 losing season and they want the HC gone Fans need to get with the program and quit being STUPID!!!

volman444 writes:

she is anti-football as proved by her statements in destin last week concerning over signing in football. this will go down as the dumbest move in the history of our athletic department. we have hit rock botton.

UTHayes24 writes:

Follow me here....
Pat Summit: "I think I'm ready to retire after this season, Joan."
Joan Cronan: "Let me talk to the Chancellor."

One day later:
Joan: "They're moving me up the ranks. How would you like to be women's AD starting July 1, 2012?"
Pat: "Perfect!"

easleychuck writes:

in response to mnvol:

Since the title is "interim", it's a logical move. You "real men" out there need to relax. The permanent hire is to be in place by the end of the summer. She is certainly capable of keeping things running till then. One doesn't run a successful athletics department - men's or women's - as long as Joan has without "having some gonads" (figuratively speaking, of course).

Said with term planted firmly in cheek, How many football coaches has she had to fire? How many basketball coaches has she had to fire? How many football or basketball coaches has she hired?

Seriously, good temporary move. I am sure that it makes all the associate ADs on the men's side know exactly where they stand in the search.

easleychuck writes:

in response to OLEVOLFAN:

No they just fired one of the Best DAMN coaches in SEC history!! So he would make a Damn good AD! Everyone thinks UT has 1 losing season and they want the HC gone Fans need to get with the program and quit being STUPID!!!

If Phil agrees to count the 6 million dollar parting gift as an advance and work for 'free' for the next 12 years, then sign him up for a trial run. Yeah, right!

Alphafemale writes:

I think this is a great move and one I've been rooting for.

oldradioguy#241544 writes:

volfaninchattanooga writes:
You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.
...

Then you sir are not a fan. You are a customer. Hate to lose a customer. But we're definitely not losing a fan.

mnvol writes:

in response to easleychuck:

Said with term planted firmly in cheek, How many football coaches has she had to fire? How many basketball coaches has she had to fire? How many football or basketball coaches has she hired?

Seriously, good temporary move. I am sure that it makes all the associate ADs on the men's side know exactly where they stand in the search.

How many football coaches will she have to fire in the next two months? - I'm going to stick my neck out here, and say, probably zero.

How many basketball coaches will she have to fire in the next two months? - Again, I'm going to guess, zero.

How mnay football or basketball coaches will she need to hire in the next two months? - Again, zero.

I think not moving any of the men's associate ADs up to the interim AD position was a smart political move as it keeps the playing field level for any of those currently in the men's department who choose to apply for the AD position.

UTHayes24 writes:

in response to oldradioguy#241544:

volfaninchattanooga writes:
You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.
...

Then you sir are not a fan. You are a customer. Hate to lose a customer. But we're definitely not losing a fan.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

mtowntim writes:

Logical move...seems the pieces are in place for Sat.

pridebone writes:

in response to volfaninchattanooga:

You are kidding right? How IN THE WORLD can any "man" like this development? So you are telling me that she is going to tell people like Derek Dooley and Condredge Holloway how to run a football program? Are there no men around anymore? Seriously!!!!!!!!! What can she possibly know about running a football program???? They will not get A DOLLAR from me until a change is made. I'm done.

She doesn't have to run a football program. She has to hold some things together until we hire a permanent AD. Last I checked, Derek Dooley runs the football program.

The simple fact of having a penis does not qualify one more than another to do paperwork and pr, which is what the athletic director does.

Come back out of the 1920s and join the rest of us in the modern era of the world.

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