Here’s another development in Tennessee’s search to find a new Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics to replace Dave Hart, who announced his retirement in August, 2016, but will remain in office until the end of June this year.
Jon Gilbert, perceived as the top internal candidate to potentially replace Hart, will be named the Athletics Director at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to multiple reports, including one from ESPN’s Chris Low.
Jon Gilbert will be Southern Miss' new AD. Gilbert was previously executive senior associate AD at Tennessee and Dave Hart's No. 2 man.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) January 24, 2017
Gilbert came to Tennessee in 2011 as executive senior associate athletics director after serving as the associate athletic director for external operations at the University of Alabama. He more or less served as a right-hand man for Hart over the past couple years, and some believed that Hart was grooming him to take over after his departure.
But Tennessee seems to be going away from that pipeline as the search continues for a new AD.
The Vols have formed a search committee that includes several influential boosters as well as former quarterback Peyton Manning, while also securing the services of a search firm, to identify who will lead Tennessee’s athletics department beginning this summer.
Former coach Phillip Fulmer and Chattanooga AD David Blackburn, who is a former associate AD at Tennessee, are two of the presumed favorites, though Tennessee is expected to evaluate several current sitting ADs in the process as well.
With Gilbert out, it doesn’t look like it will be an internal candidate, however.