Many Tennessee fans have been hoping that the search for a new Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics would be speedy one.
They may not get their wish, according to a report from Jimmy Hyams of WNML-FM in Knoxville.
Tennessee will not hire an athletic director until at least February with input from Chancellor Davenport according to multiple sources
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) December 19, 2016
Tennessee’s Board of Trustees confirmed Dr. Beverly Davenport as the new chancellor for the Knoxville campus on Dec. 15. Davenport, who has been the interim president at the University of Cincinnati since June of this year, will officially begin her role on March 1, replacing outgoing chancellor Jimmy Cheek.
Even though it will be a few months before she officially steps into office, the assumption for some was that Tennessee would rapidly move forward in hiring an AD to replace Dave Hart, who announced over the summer that he will step down, though he officially set his retirement date for June 30, 2017.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones has several big program decisions to make this offseason as he looks to revamp his program that fell short of expectations with an 8-4 season and a trip to the Music City Bowl in 2016. Jones will be hiring at least one new member to his strength and conditioning staff and could be replacing multiple assistant coaches in the coming weeks as well.
If this report is true, it looks like Jones will be doing most of that under Hart’s guidance, not a new AD.
Chattanooga AD David Blackburn, a former Senior Associate AD at Tennessee, is the presumed favorite.
Current UT Executive Senior Associate AD Jon Gilbert, Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart, Oregon AD Rob Mullens, Arizona AD Greg Byrne, Kansas State AD John Currie and former Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer are among the names that have been reported or rumored to be in the conversation for the position as well.