UT merging men's, women's athletics

Cronan to be interim vice chancellor/sports director until June '12

Newly named University of Tennessee interim vice chancellor/director of athletics Joan Cronan addresses the news media Thursday at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.  Cronan will serve as the senior administrator of the entire athletics department.

Newly named University of Tennessee interim vice chancellor/director of athletics Joan Cronan addresses the news media Thursday at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. Cronan will serve as the senior administrator of the entire athletics department.

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

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the transition of roles for Joan Cronan.

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.

Longtime UT women’s athletic director Joan Cronan, who was named the university’s interim vice chancellor/director of athletics Thursday, will leave that post when a permanent vice chancellor/director of athletics is named, and return to her job as women's athletic director.

In June 2012 she will 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."

Tennessee 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 doings 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."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble.

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Comments » 72

taylorsvolfan writes:

Bad move !

VolunteerLifer writes:

A longtime competent athletic director of one department who is named interim director of both departments makes 225 g's and the idiot she is replacing gets 1.3 mil just for resigning, even though he thoroughly screwed up his department. And she's not even getting a raise to take on the interim gig. Can anyone explain that?

Chartervol writes:

Excellent move. It is totally outstanding that Joan Cronan is stepping in to hold the fort in the wake of Hamilton's disaster.

And doubly excellent that we eventually will have ONE brand for intercollegiate athletics. The women will not be diminished by simply being Vols at some distant point, and we will all be better off when we are blessedly free of Carolina blue.

The women have carried a grudge for nearly 40 years over being stuck with Ray Mears hand-me-down uniforms. I don't know what possessed Mears to order Carolina blue trim during the Ernie and Bernie years. We've been paying for that fashion emergency ever since.

Hounddawg writes:

Good interim move but i cant wait until David Howell takes over the reigns!
its back to basics under ADDH

ITISWHATITIS writes:

Joan Cronan is a Class Act if she wanted to she would be an excellent A.D. but interim will have to do because she really doesn't want the job. still Thanks Joan best wishes at your new post

eduardo writes:

amazing how it takes an ouster from the mens side for this to finally happen. why didnt this happen before all of this garbage? this institution waste too much money on frivilous moves and idiotic tendacies to appease minorities than any other in the ncaa!

JamesVeinte writes:

Not so sure the merge is a good idea. I've seen lots of recruits who came to Tennessee because they liked the split departments and the extra attention that brought. And let's be honest here. Will the new AD give as much attention to Women's Rowing (for example) as Cronan did? Or will the women's sports become something he has to make token gestures of interest in?

Velo_Vol writes:

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

Why not? You're telling me there's no redundancy in the two departments for them to eliminate?

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Chartervol:

Excellent move. It is totally outstanding that Joan Cronan is stepping in to hold the fort in the wake of Hamilton's disaster.

And doubly excellent that we eventually will have ONE brand for intercollegiate athletics. The women will not be diminished by simply being Vols at some distant point, and we will all be better off when we are blessedly free of Carolina blue.

The women have carried a grudge for nearly 40 years over being stuck with Ray Mears hand-me-down uniforms. I don't know what possessed Mears to order Carolina blue trim during the Ernie and Bernie years. We've been paying for that fashion emergency ever since.

The Lady Vols blue was not due to Ray Mears at all. If you read about the history of the Lady Vols basketball team you will learn why on one occasion they had to have uniforms other than white with orange and were unable to get orange with white at the time and decided to use blue rather than orange for the occasion. And they have added it since. Do not blame it on Mears or add a non-existent grudge by the Lady Vols.

hep writes:

in response to eduardo:

amazing how it takes an ouster from the mens side for this to finally happen. why didnt this happen before all of this garbage? this institution waste too much money on frivilous moves and idiotic tendacies to appease minorities than any other in the ncaa!

says eduardo?

tozzie writes:

Let's hope some of the class and success (especially that graduation rate) rub off on the men's programs. I think they should give Joan the job permanently.

fratricide08 writes:

At first, I thought the merge was a good idea but now I'm second-guessing it. At a University that is football and to a lesser extent men's basketball crazy, I'm not sure merging the two will be good for UT's Women's Athletics. I don't think that women's sports or men's teams that don't happen to be football or basketball should suffer in order to make sure every penny goes to them. I sure hope that doesn't happen but without the right AD it's something that very much CAN happen in these economic times.

AD's need to realize that they serve not only the big teams but the little teams as well and that having as many teams as feasible ADDS to the student experience which is what sports really is all about. My cynical side tells me that AD's who do realize this are needles among haystacks.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

A longtime competent athletic director of one department who is named interim director of both departments makes 225 g's and the idiot she is replacing gets 1.3 mil just for resigning, even though he thoroughly screwed up his department. And she's not even getting a raise to take on the interim gig. Can anyone explain that?

I'll try: gender discrimination?

dvhill100 writes:

I would certainly be in favor for her to be the new AD. She has certainly demonstrated her competence running her side of the house.

Vol1983 writes:

That's all UT needs, someone picked by Jimmy Cheek to ruin both the men's and women's athletic program. Jimmy Cheek is the root of the problem. He must be terminated to save UT athletics. All problems point to his incompetence.

tnluv2play writes:

Merging the two departments will be the end of the successful women's sports programs because they'll bring another idiot like Hamilton in to run the thing. What a disaster. When can we get rid of Cheek and company?

houvol#438636 writes:

I say give the job to Joan.

UTBudgetCritic (Inactive) writes:

The merger of UT men's and women's was long overdue. A unified athletic department will hopefully reduce some of the ever-present UT bureaucracy within the department. Another thing that will hopefully occur soon, now that Hamilton is gone, is the athletics department will begin taking strides toward helping the UT Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in their quest for a new location.

Neyland Stadium has undergone many facelifts and additions the past five years as part of the stadium Master Plan. However, the south concourse project cannot be started until South Stadium Hall is vacated.

The ASP program was barely saved from termination in 2008, having been transferred to the control of UT-Memphis Health Sciences Center. Since that time, the program has been moved further down the state priority list for new capital construction projects. The Dept. of Anthropology was able to move out of SSH into a newly-constructed building, leaving ASP the sole remaining program. The south concourse phase will remain stalled until UT does something about the new building for ASP. One could argue that Mike Hamilton should have brought resolution to this situation. Of course, he was too busy hiring and firing coaches and wasting millions of dollars in the process.

Vols fans should clamor for both the UT system and for the UT Athletics Department to contribute funding for the ASP building project, so that they can relocate, and the Master Plan can move through the south concourse phase within the next two years.

Huttdawg100 writes:

It is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY to contact Tom Jurich at Louisville and make him tell us 'no'. The guy took over at Louisville in the late 90's. He then guided them from C-USA doormat to the Big East. He brought in Bobby Petrino and the football program took off. He brought in Rick Pitino, and the basketball program made deep runs into the NCAA tourney. Jurich is the guy we need.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Chartervol:

Excellent move. It is totally outstanding that Joan Cronan is stepping in to hold the fort in the wake of Hamilton's disaster.

And doubly excellent that we eventually will have ONE brand for intercollegiate athletics. The women will not be diminished by simply being Vols at some distant point, and we will all be better off when we are blessedly free of Carolina blue.

The women have carried a grudge for nearly 40 years over being stuck with Ray Mears hand-me-down uniforms. I don't know what possessed Mears to order Carolina blue trim during the Ernie and Bernie years. We've been paying for that fashion emergency ever since.

The blue on the Lady Vol uniforms was one of the ways that the UTAD separated the programs . It is called niche marketing. They got to people who would not normally support athletics teams. But by branding the Lady Vols somewhat differently than the men they increased the donor pool and brought in more money. There are many high dollar donors that only contribute because they support the Lady Vols. There are many people who only attend Lady Vol events. This is just one of the many things that an AD worries about and uses. Merging the departments is NOT a good idea.Ultimately it will hurt support

BobbyGraham writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

A longtime competent athletic director of one department who is named interim director of both departments makes 225 g's and the idiot she is replacing gets 1.3 mil just for resigning, even though he thoroughly screwed up his department. And she's not even getting a raise to take on the interim gig. Can anyone explain that?

Yes i can explain. Women should not be paid as much as men

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Vol1983:

That's all UT needs, someone picked by Jimmy Cheek to ruin both the men's and women's athletic program. Jimmy Cheek is the root of the problem. He must be terminated to save UT athletics. All problems point to his incompetence.

Jimmy Cheeks was not hired to run the Athletic Department. I am sure if he had his way this would never have taken place.

jskid writes:

I wonder about the need for a "nation-wide" search to replace Hamilton; are they looking for someone just as weak in the leadership department? Why doesn't Cheek just take over? Birds of a feather.

This "search" is a crock of baloney! Poop-can Ole Jimmy, and you'll have current employees willing to step up. No one in their right mind wants to work for that dipshot. We have at least two great choices already working at the university, but they ain't gonna put up with Cheek. So rather than do what rightly needs to be done, we're gonna over-pay some head-hunter to find a "yes-man(or woman) to due what the "Cheeks" sez. Oh boy!!

volbike writes:

Joan at 67 was or is going to retire. Pat needs to put every bit of effort into regaining suppremacy over Uconn and can't afford and does not want or need the distraction. It would truly be wonderful if UT used this opportunity to bring someone and give them the leeway to overhaul the entire deptartment but.... Also you guys all think Jimmy is calling the shots. Get serious...............

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pat would be an excellent choice for sure, but she has stated that she is not interested in the position. She has several more years of solid coaching left in her, and at least a couple more Championships!

UTKin1992 writes:

Cronan makes a fraction of what the most incompetent AD in school history made just in pay-out money for quitting. I understand she oversaw a smaller number of womens programs that produce a fraction of the revenue that the mens programs do...BUT STILL! Unbelievable!

Hamilton didn't communicate with his coaches, fired legends, hired chumps, got us into hot water with the NCAA, AND was the uglier than bag of doorknobs!

BigBadVol writes:

This lady is a class act! Some of you posters are complete idiots. It's embarrassing.

slide writes:

Two captains: one captains a oil tanker, the other a cruise ship. While both are captains, the ships are different...the destination is the same, but the course is different. Men and women's athletics demand their own captains, run different courses, but have the same destination. Keep them separate. My opinion.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Vol1983:

That's all UT needs, someone picked by Jimmy Cheek to ruin both the men's and women's athletic program. Jimmy Cheek is the root of the problem. He must be terminated to save UT athletics. All problems point to his incompetence.

Lots of the problems were there before the Athletic Dept was put under the supervision of the Chancellor.

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't be an idiot, Phil would be just as bad as Pat.

VolNExile writes:

in response to JamesVeinte:

Not so sure the merge is a good idea. I've seen lots of recruits who came to Tennessee because they liked the split departments and the extra attention that brought. And let's be honest here. Will the new AD give as much attention to Women's Rowing (for example) as Cronan did? Or will the women's sports become something he has to make token gestures of interest in?

Funny that you mention rowing. Joan Cronan told me once (and anyone else, of course) that UT has rowing to balance out the numbers of football players. There are a number of ways to meet Title IX requirements, and one of them is to have equal numbers of spots on athletic teams. (Hope I'm saying this right.) Rowing automatically has big numbers, due to the 8-man boats and so forth.

Any AD will have to make sure that programs like these keep going to counter-balance the sheer number of football players.

Someone on another thread mentioned men's soccer. Same thing --there will need to be another women's team in some sport or another with similar numbers of athletes as on a men's team (typically 22 or so.)

This is part of being an AD. You have to pay attention to all sports, whether they're personally interesting to you or not.

But I'm going to miss the separate women's athletic department as well.

dans49er writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I.ve been puking since yesterday when I first heard of this.Looks to me that it is time to find another SEC school to pull for. THANK YOU JIMMY CHEEK"less"

RoadTrip writes:

Thanks for stepping in to help out Joan. You are now in UTAD history books by heading both men's and women's athletics for a period as well as oversseing the conversion. That is great honor for a great Vol and person.

Yes, Pat would be a great AD. However, as she has said she wants to coach. If the John Wooden of women's basketball prefers to coach - then coach she will. She is competing against Geno for the best ever and wants to finish it off in style.

BigOrangeSlim writes:

This is outstanding! Joan does a great job and whom better to lead the men's program? Fulmer? Lets all pray he stays retired and Joan does about a year in the AD's office before she retires. Then would be the prefect time to hire a big gun! Not a dried up football coach ran off for not winning enough games over several years.

Outdated writes:

in response to jskid:

I wonder about the need for a "nation-wide" search to replace Hamilton; are they looking for someone just as weak in the leadership department? Why doesn't Cheek just take over? Birds of a feather.

This "search" is a crock of baloney! Poop-can Ole Jimmy, and you'll have current employees willing to step up. No one in their right mind wants to work for that dipshot. We have at least two great choices already working at the university, but they ain't gonna put up with Cheek. So rather than do what rightly needs to be done, we're gonna over-pay some head-hunter to find a "yes-man(or woman) to due what the "Cheeks" sez. Oh boy!!

The search insinuates no TN connected person is qualified for this position. This should not be tolerated by any donor (I am not one). How can any university HOLD IT AGAINST a person who graduates from that school when they are looking to fill a good job especially in this tough economy. The message this sends is simple..Don't come here to school if you ever expect us to help you get employed..this goes far beyond a crock of baloney..
This job needs to go to a UT person and a Florida person is the last one who should be a part of this decision..

tennrich1 writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're making an antiquated assumption here....man, get in the 2011'ssss.......

volboy81 writes:

Joan is one classy lady who does things right! I'd like it if she were the permanant AD, but I guess thats not going to happen. Too bad. I hope the merging of the 2 AD's doesnt hurt the womens side since they are winners in every sport they participate in, but if its OK with Joan and Pat to merge them, its OK with me!! I dont get the part about paying Hamilton $1.3M either. He should be paying UT that amount for messing everything up so bad!!

MusicCityVol writes:

I am glad the departments are merging. Every other college in America (except Texas) does it that way for a reason.

Hamilton's Professional Legacy To Be Defined In Indy
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

martinvol34 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

A longtime competent athletic director of one department who is named interim director of both departments makes 225 g's and the idiot she is replacing gets 1.3 mil just for resigning, even though he thoroughly screwed up his department. And she's not even getting a raise to take on the interim gig. Can anyone explain that?

Amen to that!

CCLC writes:

in response to Outdated:

The search insinuates no TN connected person is qualified for this position. This should not be tolerated by any donor (I am not one). How can any university HOLD IT AGAINST a person who graduates from that school when they are looking to fill a good job especially in this tough economy. The message this sends is simple..Don't come here to school if you ever expect us to help you get employed..this goes far beyond a crock of baloney..
This job needs to go to a UT person and a Florida person is the last one who should be a part of this decision..

You do realize where your coach and nearly a third of your fb roster hail from don't you. I never thought the day would come when UT has become more recognized for their women's basketball team than their fb team.
just sayin'

jskid writes:

in response to volbike:

Joan at 67 was or is going to retire. Pat needs to put every bit of effort into regaining suppremacy over Uconn and can't afford and does not want or need the distraction. It would truly be wonderful if UT used this opportunity to bring someone and give them the leeway to overhaul the entire deptartment but.... Also you guys all think Jimmy is calling the shots. Get serious...............

Odd that you think Cheek is not calling the shots. Who do you think is in charge? phooey runs downhill, and it seems to be originating at Cheeks terrain interval. Of the seemingly qualified folks already on staff at UT, they all seem to be reluctant to voice an interest. Joan is retiring, Pat needs to concentrate on coaching, etc., etc. Cheek wants to spend another $100 thousand on a nation- wide talent hunt when the university is; 1)$11 million in the hole from buyouts in the last 5 years, and 2) he has qualified people already in the system. BRILLIANT!!!!

Theo writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Yes i can explain. Women should not be paid as much as men

Tell me you are not serious. If you are kidding you need to correct yourself before some idiot agrees with you. If you are serious please take your knuckle dragging axx and leave this site. This site is for differing opinions not blatant sexism or racism. If you had said blacks shouldn't be paid as much as whites it would have been removed immediately. Unbelievable this thinking still survives. You disgust me.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Yes i can explain. Women should not be paid as much as men

Do you get calluses on your knuckles from dragging them on the ground all the time? Do your eyes hurt when you venture out into the sun after all that time in that cave you live in? Have you actually ever SEEN the sun?

Theo writes:

While I love Joan and think she will do an excellent job and probably be a great pick for the permanent position, I totally disagree with the decision to merge the two departments.
The women will be second class citizens in a combined department (I know some folks on this thread think that is just fine). Why would we drag down a successful operation such as UT women's athletics by combining it with the train wreck that is men's athletics. Is the administration intent on ruining all athletics?

CCLC writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Do you get calluses on your knuckles from dragging them on the ground all the time? Do your eyes hurt when you venture out into the sun after all that time in that cave you live in? Have you actually ever SEEN the sun?

you do know why cavemen dragged their women by their hair don't you?

tmartin writes:

The men's athletic dept is completely different from the women's athletic dept. First of all, it is profitable. I will not say that womens sports are not revenue producing, because they are. However, they do not produce enough revenue to cover their costs. Therefore, they are a drain. Women basketball is the only one that comes close to breaking even, but that is because they used facilities that are paid for by men's basketball (TBA was built for the men in the 80's and Pratt Pavilion was built after Pearl made mens b ball a cash cow). It does not matter that they have been way more successful, people do not pay as much money for tickets or merchandise as they do for men's and TV deals are not as lucrative, etc, etc. Men's basketball and football pay for all other sports just like most every other program in the country and even at high school level. Thats just the way it is.

Therefore, Cronan does not have the experience, it is a completely differnt job. Also, Fulmer and Summitt (like them or not) are not fit to run the AD office. They have been coaches their whole life. This is a CEO position not a retirment step off for an old coach.

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

Really an outstanding move. Our women's athletic department is the envy of college athletics. They have had championships, high graduation rates...and NO contriversies. A model that the men's program should follow!!

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to dans49er:

I.ve been puking since yesterday when I first heard of this.Looks to me that it is time to find another SEC school to pull for. THANK YOU JIMMY CHEEK"less"

Then hit the road Jack ! You obviously don't bleed orange if an AD causes you you to "pull" for a certain school.

kazoo writes:

This is a smart move that should save money. That UTSports.com is mostly a site for men's athletics--and you have to hit a link to go to women's sports--as always been dumb and inappropriate.

CrankE writes:

in response to Velo_Vol:

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

Why not? You're telling me there's no redundancy in the two departments for them to eliminate?

My thoughts exactly. I would expect a cost savings and an improvement to effectiveness (not to be confused with efficiency) as a result. It doesn't sound like that's the case. It's a fair question to ask what actually changes.

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