It was reported earlier this week that Vol For Life Coordinator Antone Davis was resigning from his position. Davis cited a “hostile work environment” for his reasoning as to why he was leaving his position he had held since August of 2012.
Now another report has come out, and it provides the details behind Davis’s claim of a “hostile work environment.”
According to emails obtained by long-time Knoxville reporter Jimmy Hyams, Davis claims that he suffered “constant intimidation, bullying, and mental abuse’’ from Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones. Davis made those claims in an email to Tennessee athletic director John Currie on October 31st.
Davis stated that working under Butch Jones “has been one of the worst experiences I have ever had.” He also told Currie in his resignation email that “I had always dreamed of coming back and being able to contribute to the continued success of the athletic program. I want you to know that I am not leaving Tennessee because I want to. I am leaving because I must.
“My biggest regret and fear is that I am leaving behind student-athletes and co-workers that may be subjected to the same treatment I have received.”
Davis also said that he hadn’t received any sort of merit raise despite having “outstanding performance reviews” while serving in his position. Hyams reports that Davis had received a UT-wide 1.5 to 3 percent raise, but there were no other raises listed. Hyams also stated that a source informed him that Jones asked for a raise for Davis “a while back,” but Tennessee’s administration denied the request.
Davis closed his email by saying “In closing, I deeply regret that things have been allowed to transpire, causing a high level of anxiety and other health issues thus creating my need to resign.’’
In a previous email, Davis stated he mentioned his concerns to Currie as far back as September 22nd but that Currie had failed to take any action.
Currie’s response to Davis on his October 31st email said, “While I am very sorry that you are leaving us, I am glad that you have been able to find a position you are excited about…”
Currie also claimed that he had planned to expand Davis’ role as the VFL Coordinator and said that role will be “further synergizing your efforts to help our student-athletes with the Thornton Center and the upcoming VFLconnect program.’’ Currie would close his email by saying, “I appreciate your efforts on behalf of the athletics program and Volunteer student-athletes and look forward to staying in touch.’’
Hyams says that when he contacted Butch Jones for comment, he issued this statement via sports information director Zach Stipe: “I wish Antone Davis well and thank him for his work as Tennessee’s Vol For Life Coordinator.’’
It still remains unclear if Davis’ role as VFL Coordinator will be filled in the near future.