New UT athletic director Dave Hart's annual salary is $775,000

Saul Young/News Sentinel
Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new Vice Chancellor of Athletics during a news conference at Neyland Stadium on Monday.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Saul Young/News Sentinel Dave Hart talks about his role as the University of Tennessee's new Vice Chancellor of Athletics during a news conference at Neyland Stadium on Monday.

Dave Hart didn't expect to be sitting behind a microphone Monday night, orange tie around his neck and Tennessee backdrop behind him, as the school's new vice chancellor of athletics.

Not 20 years ago. Not 10 years ago. Not last week.

"We don't like to bounce around," the 62-year-old Hart said, looking directly at his wife, Pam. "We're not transient people."

A weekend with UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek convinced Hart that now was the time to leave his alma mater, Alabama, where he had served as the executive director of athletics since 2008.

Dave Hart introduced as UT's Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics - Pt. 1

The meeting had the exact same effect on Cheek, who said he knew within five minutes that Hart was serious about his interest in the job.

Though his previous stop didn't have him at the top of the totem pole, his previous 20 years as an athletic director at Florida State and East Carolina gave Cheek and his five-person search committee exactly what they were looking for: "an experienced athletic director from a major university with outstanding athletic programs."

"I have the same energy I had 15 years ago," Hart said. "I enjoy people, I enjoy building relationships with coaches.

"There aren't a lot of schools that have the passion and display it the way that the University of Tennessee does."

According to his memorandum of understanding, Hart will make a base salary of $575,000, an additional $150,000 for personal appearances and media opportunities and will receive $50,000 "retention bonuses" through Aug. 31, 2017 that will give him $775,000 annually. If Hart meets Cheek's "expectations," he will receive an annual 3 percent raise to his base salary.

If Hart leaves UT for another Division I athletic director job before the end of his contract, he would owe the school 75 percent of his remaining base salary. UT would owe Hart the same amount if it were to fire him without cause before the end of his deal.

"I want you to know that beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are here, our passion is here," Hart said. "We'll have a chance to demonstrate that as the months and years progress."

Hart's first day on the job is Sept. 21, a little more than three months after former Athletic Director Mike Hamilton resigned.

Hamilton's departure set in motion a search that drew heavy criticism for its $90,000 contract with Parker Executive Search firm and included one public spurning from LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva.

UT Women's Athletic Director Joan Cronan, who has served as UT's interim vice chancellor of athletics since Hamilton's resignation and was a member of Cheek's search committee, said Hart's name didn't pop on UT's radar until sometime last week. In his meetings with Cheek, Hart said he made it clear that he wasn't a micromanager and didn't want to be micromanaged.

"Athletics has never been, should not be and never will be, the most important thing on a university campus," Hart said. "But it is absolutely the most visible element within that university structure."

Hart inherits a program with a $100 million budget, relatively new coaches in three of its top four moneymaking sports and is in the midst of merging its long-separate men's and women's programs into one entity. It's also a department that has been ravaged with turmoil and instability stemming from an NCAA investigation that lingered over 28 months, resulted in the termination of popular men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and just recently came to a close with the Committee on Infractions accepting the school's self-imposed penalties.

"I'm aware that there are still wounds for a variety of reasons," Hart said. "But I think that's not where your focus should be."

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Comments » 39

arkyvol writes:

i just hope that cheek and company have picked a better a.d. than the last stiff who held that position.

Voluvr writes:

Welcome Dave. It looks like things are coming together!

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

We're more worried about "The Buyout" if he leaves or gets fired. How much is that?

gold12#1389721 writes:

in response to FrenchQuarterVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL, not it's not just you. I knew that it was someone he reminded me of, but I could not think of who. You are certainly correct; he does look like Ho Chin Minh! LOL!!!!!

ZKrashB writes:

Well things are starting to become more normal in Vol Country now just time to get some W's in football

VolAlum03ISBACK (Inactive) writes:

What do you want to bet that Hart's name popped up on UT's radar from a source that IS NOT the Parker Executive Search Firm. UT needs to stop wasting money on those idiots.

kingmufasa76 writes:

hart reminds me of an monster i saw in a movie once guy said shiiiiiiirreeeee bagggggggiiiinnssss lol jk welcome aboard dave

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to WDD_says_lets_make_it_seven:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There is also a pattern to your Vols obsession and jealousy

888657 writes:

in response to WDD_says_lets_make_it_seven:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So what this is your 5th, 6th, or 7th straight hours on a rivals website? It must suck knowing that out of millions of dead sperm cells, you missed on your chance to be flushed down the toilet with all the other losers.

On topic: It is a right to have an opinion. However, for all the true Vol fans, he is our new AD, and we need to support him or find somebody else to cheer for. We've had enough against us in the past, and certainly don't need our own not rallying behind our boys on the field. After all, I believe they are the ones we go crazy about on saturdays. Go Vols!

traderjoe writes:

$750,000.00??? You've got to be kidding me. A $100,000,000.00 athletic budget? Is that bigger than the rest of the University's budget? Are things out of balance? The unemployed can't find minimum wage jobs and someone whose job consist of what...gets $750K? Are things screwed up in this country or what? The athletic department was doing just fine without an AD, some would say better, and this guy is going to bring what to the table? Now you know why the cheapest ticket you can find to a Montana game is $40.00. I love college football but this just sounds crazy. I say bring back the student athlete and cut out all the nonsense and don't pay $750k for an AD or millions for a coach. Let's face it, most fans would show up for a good intramural game. Get the criminals out of college athletics, bring back the student (real student) athlete, and lower ticket fees. Do we really need all the fluff?

dvhill100 writes:

Okay, Mr. Hart. Now let's see what you've got.

MGVOL22 writes:

in response to 888657:

So what this is your 5th, 6th, or 7th straight hours on a rivals website? It must suck knowing that out of millions of dead sperm cells, you missed on your chance to be flushed down the toilet with all the other losers.

On topic: It is a right to have an opinion. However, for all the true Vol fans, he is our new AD, and we need to support him or find somebody else to cheer for. We've had enough against us in the past, and certainly don't need our own not rallying behind our boys on the field. After all, I believe they are the ones we go crazy about on saturdays. Go Vols!

Thank you....you said it correctly, True Vol fans will get behind him no matter what. I remember when Coach Dooley was hired, everyone was screaming about how horrible the hire was....Well if you as me, A True Vol Fan, I love Dooley as a coach. He is a perfect mix of old school + new school. Smart, educated, wealth of knowledge about football. I am excited about the 2011 Vols and glad to see the AD search is over, now let's move on to Saturday September 10th vs. Cincinnati...One game at a time...GO VOLS!

SummittsCourt writes:

Man had I known they were going to offer that kind of money I would have applied for the job.

Seriously though, says a lot about what they thought of old hammy when the man that replaces him gets almost double his salary.

MilitaryBrat writes:

Hopefully he will work out, But it is concerning that Cheek is a Gator and Hart is an Alabama Alum.

Our most hated rivals had two men in high positions at UT.

Debt writes:

Ya know, I'd have done it for half the pay, and I'm half his age :)

Boom, what say ye?

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to MilitaryBrat:

Hopefully he will work out, But it is concerning that Cheek is a Gator and Hart is an Alabama Alum.

Our most hated rivals had two men in high positions at UT.

Doug Dickey was a Gator. So what?

TennHillbilly writes:

in response to VolAlum03ISBACK:

What do you want to bet that Hart's name popped up on UT's radar from a source that IS NOT the Parker Executive Search Firm. UT needs to stop wasting money on those idiots.

I'm betting Joan Cronan mentioned his name.

TennVol01 writes:

I really wish they would not announce the salaries of these new folks. It just upsets middle class who are out of work and or struggling to keep ahead in this economy. Hart will be paid double what Hamilton was paid. Is he really worth double?

That said, good choice for AD. It is not like it is a critical position.

Biggie writes:

in response to traderjoe:

$750,000.00??? You've got to be kidding me. A $100,000,000.00 athletic budget? Is that bigger than the rest of the University's budget? Are things out of balance? The unemployed can't find minimum wage jobs and someone whose job consist of what...gets $750K? Are things screwed up in this country or what? The athletic department was doing just fine without an AD, some would say better, and this guy is going to bring what to the table? Now you know why the cheapest ticket you can find to a Montana game is $40.00. I love college football but this just sounds crazy. I say bring back the student athlete and cut out all the nonsense and don't pay $750k for an AD or millions for a coach. Let's face it, most fans would show up for a good intramural game. Get the criminals out of college athletics, bring back the student (real student) athlete, and lower ticket fees. Do we really need all the fluff?

The "unemployed" won't take the minimum wage jobs.
You want good people, ya gotta pay them. Now go upstairs, your Momma has your lunch ready.

PANCHO writes:

Hart reminds me of Dr. Spock, with his pointed ears. I assume that with the title of Vice Chancellor, part of his salary will come out of state and university funds.

lofter writes:

This can be nothing but a big step up!

Welcome to Big Orange country!

asleep#212036 writes:

I live in Alabama so this hire is good for me. I mean, Dooley worked for St. Saban and Hart was Mal Moore's main man - now at least the Tiders down here don't/can't hate UT quite as much ALL the time, just the 3rd Saturday in October. Seriously though, I think he's a good hire and like it or not, modeling one's athletic department after the one at Alabama is not lunacy, even though it makes all us true Vols fans a little antsy. Let's see what he's got. Go Vols!!!

budd#207344 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

I live in Alabama so this hire is good for me. I mean, Dooley worked for St. Saban and Hart was Mal Moore's main man - now at least the Tiders down here don't/can't hate UT quite as much ALL the time, just the 3rd Saturday in October. Seriously though, I think he's a good hire and like it or not, modeling one's athletic department after the one at Alabama is not lunacy, even though it makes all us true Vols fans a little antsy. Let's see what he's got. Go Vols!!!

Modeling the football program after what Saban has done is one thing but the UT athletics program is head and shoulders above alabama and always has been.

CoverOrange writes:

$150,000 for personal appearances and media opportunities

Personally I don't want to see or hear from him at all, means things are going okay. Why pay him extra to get in front of the camera? Why isn't this part of his base duties? What are his base duties?

CarlChilders writes:

in response to gold12#1389721:

LOL, not it's not just you. I knew that it was someone he reminded me of, but I could not think of who. You are certainly correct; he does look like Ho Chin Minh! LOL!!!!!

You're both dating yourselves. The sad part is that I know exactly what you mean.

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

He made a little more than 500,000 at Florida State and around 350,000 at Alabama. Why are we doubling his salary?

CarlChilders writes:

in response to PANCHO:

Hart reminds me of Dr. Spock, with his pointed ears. I assume that with the title of Vice Chancellor, part of his salary will come out of state and university funds.

I can't remember what the guy who wrote the books on raising babies looked like.

Hacksaw57 writes:

You got a Flur-duh guy handing an Ala-bubba guy a Tennessee shirt...THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, DON'T YOU THINK!!!!

VolJunkie writes:

in response to Hacksaw57:

You got a Flur-duh guy handing an Ala-bubba guy a Tennessee shirt...THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, DON'T YOU THINK!!!!

It just means there's hope for everyone ... and they saw the light! ;)

Go Vols!

AHoffman writes:

in response to FrenchQuarterVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh. The Vols are going to win."

traderjoe writes:

in response to Biggie:

The "unemployed" won't take the minimum wage jobs.
You want good people, ya gotta pay them. Now go upstairs, your Momma has your lunch ready.

Shame on you. If you start off with minimum wage and don't eat too much of your product at McDonalds' you can work your way up to manager in 5 or 10 years. Now get off couch, stop wasting your time on the message board, and learn to say, "you want to supersize dem fries?". LOL

PANCHO writes:

in response to CarlChilders:

I can't remember what the guy who wrote the books on raising babies looked like.

It's the Star Trek "Spock". You are thinking about the wrong Spock.

Juzkruzin writes:

in response to 888657:

So what this is your 5th, 6th, or 7th straight hours on a rivals website? It must suck knowing that out of millions of dead sperm cells, you missed on your chance to be flushed down the toilet with all the other losers.

On topic: It is a right to have an opinion. However, for all the true Vol fans, he is our new AD, and we need to support him or find somebody else to cheer for. We've had enough against us in the past, and certainly don't need our own not rallying behind our boys on the field. After all, I believe they are the ones we go crazy about on saturdays. Go Vols!

I agree with you. It is people like WDD_says, etc., that proves abortion should be retroactive. Too bad we don't!!

TKO writes:

Double the salary of a Florida State reject.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to CoondogsOfWar:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just cause his Dad coached at Georgia doesn't make Dooley a Bulldog. He went to Virginia

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to FrenchQuarterVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He looks like Jabba the Hut to me

Theo writes:

Don't feel good about this. The overall athletic departments at Alabama or Florida State do not impress me. I know the coaches coach but neither of these schools has had much success in basketball and women's athletics don't seem to be valued much at either school. Academic fraud on his watch. Hope we didn't panic here.

DarkChocolate writes:

I hope he's better than what just left.

DarkChocolate writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For the better.

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