KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Outgoing Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart says he has no plans to slow down, even after his announcement earlier Thursday that he will retire from his post next year.
Hart, who said he will vacate the position of vice chancellor and UT director of athletics on June 30, 2017, said that “it became pretty apparent” it was time for him to set a retirement date.
“Because of where our program is, because of where our university is at in the transition of leadership, there will be another chancellor at some point before the academic year comes to a conclusion,” Hart said, referring to chancellor Jimmy Cheek having announced in June that he will vacate his post to return to teaching.
“(This) will give that person (new chancellor) … he or she the ability to decide for themselves who they would like in my current leadership. That had a lot to do with that.”
Hart, asked what he would like his legacy to be, said he wants those who have worked for him in the UT athletic department to “feel they were treated with respect.”
Hart was hired by the Vols on Sept. 5, 2011, and prior to that he held athletic administration roles at East Carolina, Florida State and Alabama.
The 67-year-old Hart said he will carry on business as usual, including the study into plans to renovate Neyland Stadium.
“We’re not going to slow down any, we’re not gonna back up any, we’re full speed ahead, it’s the only way I’ve ever known how to do business, is from an all-out effort, and from a competitive standpoint,” Hart said. “I”m excited about what this year could hold for us across the board.”
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee athletics for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s SEC Country and is based in Knoxville.