Analyzing the Most Ambitious Aspects to Danny White and Tennessee’s Athletic Plan

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    Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White announced the competition and publication of Tennessee Athletics’ five-year plan on Thursday. The goal of the project is to ultimately continue and speed up Tennessee’s rise to prominence while making sure that Tennessee is boasting one of the most well-oiled, high-functioning internal athletic programs in the country.

    Tennessee’s Rise Glorious project includes five specific areas that will be addressed through comprehensive and strategic plans moving forward over the next five years: student-athlete success, culture, resources, brand management and messaging, and competitive excellence.

    Each of those five topics has subtopics with its own strategic plans both on and off the playing court/field.

    There’s no doubt that the goals that have been set are ambitious as Tennessee aims for conference championships and national championships moving forward. That in itself was one of the most immediate takeaways from the publication on Thursday morning – the commitment to winning.

    ‘Rise Glorious’: Danny White Maps Out Five Year Tennessee Athletics Strategic Plan

    Starting with the Competitive Excellence topic, Tennessee is looking to “cultivate a championship culture that propels Tennessee to compete for SEC and national championships.”

    According to the plan that was published on Thursday morning, Tennessee will be creating an “NCAA Championship Plan” for each program that will help detail and maintain a focused path to success. Ultimately, Tennessee’s goal is that they “will win a national championship in at least one sport every four years; and each sport will achieve at least one national top-16 finish every four years.”

    In addition, an “SEC Championship Plan” is also being established for all Tennessee programs.

    Tennessee’s direction of having a set amount of goals for a set time span helps give a look into their definition of success in the collegiate sports world. Tennessee has also set a goal that “each sport will win a conference championship at least once every five years; Tennessee Athletics aims to capture five conference championships in one academic year while averaging at least three conference championships per year over the next five years.”

    In his opening statement, Athletic Director White stated that Tennessee’s goal is to “restore Tennessee Athletics to the front of the pack.”

    The choice to use the word “restore” instead of “advance” is quite telling in itself. Tennessee’s goal is to re-establish the dominance that once went hand-in-hand with every conversation. It’s not hard to imagine some of Tennessee’s “goals” are more likely necessary expectations to continue the recent success that has been built. And with a unified direction coming from the top of the chain, that success is realistic.

    The brand of Tennessee, “The Power T”, is a significant part of Tennessee’s five-year plan. One interesting detail that was revealed was that a Uniform Committee will be re-established to meet and discuss uniform options for Tennessee moving forward. Gone are the days when one person makes a decision about the uniform. Now, Tennessee will entrust its student-athletes with that power as they continue to grow the brand.

    Tennessee will also look to equip all broadcasting stations such as ESPN, the SEC Network, and the VOL Network with new resources to build Tennessee’s brand with different generations of Vol fans and soon-to-be Vol fans.

    One aspect of brand promotion that Tennessee has to consider is the recognition between both the Vols and Lady Vols brands. While other schools don’t have separate distinctions (the Arkansas Razorbacks don’t have the Razorbacks and Lady Razorbacks), this is something that Tennessee recognizes is unique and wants to strengthen in the near future. One of Tennessee’s objectives in the plan is to “create cohesion between the Lady Vols and Vols, both internally and externally.”

    At the end of the day, each and every objective and topic in Tennessee’s five-year Rise Glorious plan is to propel Tennessee forward in the college athletics race. But in the immediacy, some jump off the page a little further than others.

    For a complete look into Tennessee’s Rise Glorious plan, check out Tennessee’s announcement from Thursday morning here.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.