The constant turnover in Tennessee’s athletic department the past few years has made for a perpetual relationship with its favorite search firm.
On Monday, the university entered its third agreement with Parker Executive Search in less than 18 months, as the high-profile, Atlanta-based firm will assist the Vols in their search for a new athletic director.
According to the contract, which the News Sentinel obtained through a public records request, UT will pay no less than $90,000 and is liable for a maximum of $105,000 to Parker, which is under contract with the university through Aug. 13.
Parker recently assisted the Vols with their decisions to hire Derek Dooley as their new football coach and Cuonzo Martin for men’s basketball. Martin, in fact, is one of six coaches from across the country whose image is currently displayed on Parker’s website under the title “recent engagements.”
The firm will work closely with chancellor Jimmy Cheek’s search committee to find a replacement for Mike Hamilton, who resigned last week. The candidate will take on an entirely new position in UT athletics, which, after years of having separate men’s and women’s departments, is in the process of merging the two into one cohesive unit. The new hire will oversee the entire department.
Cheek’s committee, which was confirmed Thursday to the News Sentinel by vice chancellor for communications Margie Nichols, features five prominent faces who all have various ties to the university:
* Daniel Murphy, UT’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative and Chairman of the University Athletics Board.
* Joan Cronan, UT’s longtime women’s athletic director who is currently serving as the interim vice chancellor for athletics.
* Susan Martin, UT’s Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
* Charles Anderson, UT trustee and CEO of Anderson Media who recently donated $8 million for the football team’s new indoor practice facility.
* John Tickle, UT alumnus and donor; president and owner of Strongwell Corp.
In its contract with the university, Parker lays out a 10-step plan of sorts to assist it throughout the hiring process.
Before the firm even contacts potential candidates, it will have consulted with UT to understand “the purposes and goals” of the athletic department and advised it with drafting up advertising for the position through a variety of venues.
Parker is responsible for making arrangements and scheduling potential candidates for interviews. The firm also will assist members of the committee before the interviews by advising them on appropriate questions and techniques.
According to the contract, Parker encourages schools to use a memorandum of understanding with their final candidates. It will help the university draft those documents and assist in salary negotiations, if necessary.
With the candidates’ permission, Parker will conduct an exhaustive background check that includes researching the potential hire’s criminal history, credit history, background with NCAA sanctions and how they conduct themselves in media settings.
Parker is a multi-faceted firm that also assists clients from academic health sciences and health care, corporate and higher education. In fact, the firm will be looking for at least two qualified candidates to run a high-profile athletic department this summer, as the University of Illinois hired Parker last month to assist with its search to replace its athletic director.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble
Megan Boehnke contributed to this report.