Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek will step down from his position and “join the faculty,” UT confirmed via a press release on Tuesday morning.
Cheek will remain in his position until his replacement is found.
“Leading a campus with thousands of employees, students and stakeholders is a demanding role that comes with numerous challenges, but it also has many rewards,” DiPietro said. “Chancellor Cheek has served us well, and I am grateful for the energy and vision he has brought to the University of Tennessee and our Knoxville campus…
“On Chancellor Cheek’s watch, UT Knoxville also has moved forward with record fundraising success and an unprecedented $1 billion in new construction and building renovation, including a new student union, a redeveloped residence hall village and a number of new classrooms and laboratories,” DiPietro said.
“With an innate understanding as a first-generation college student, himself, Chancellor Cheek worked to broaden diversity and student access to the University. His work led to his participation in the White House Summit on increasing college opportunities for low-income students.”
From an athletic perspective, Cheek helped oversee a largely tumultuous period in UT athletics since becoming chancellor in February of 2009.
The football program is on its third head coach since Cheek took his office, while the basketball program is on its fourth. Cheek hired Dave Hart as athletics director on Sept. 5, 2011 with the goal of bringing more stability – something that has been accomplished in some areas, especially in the football program under Butch Jones, who was hired late in 2012.
But while the football program has seen more stability in recent years, controversies involving abolishing the Lady Vols nickname for all female sports teams at UT except basketball and the recent Title IX lawsuit have hung over high-level UT administrators, including Cheek.
President Joe DiPietro said in the press release that he hopes to recommend a candidate to replace Cheek to the Board of Trustees in the spring of 2017.