published Monday, July 30th, 2012

UTC preparing for athletic director search

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's search for a new athletic director hasn't officially begun, but Chancellor Roger Brown said numerous preliminary steps are being taken in what he expects will be a three month process.

Rick Hart was named the new athletic director at Southern Methodist University on July 16, leaving UTC after six years. At that time, Brown began putting together names for a search committee and started looking for a search firm.

Brown said the search committee will be comprised of "about 22" members, including faculty and staff and people in the community.

"Lots of people asked to be included, and we weren't able to accommodate nearly everybody who asked," he said.

Just like with any construction project on campus, there is a bidding process UTC must go through before it can hire a search firm. And before the search firm helps identify and vet candidates, UTC must vet the search firms.

Once the search firm has been hired — UTC can't even look at the bids until the end of this week — then the firm and the search committee will begin going through the names and eventually cull the list down to about a dozen, Brown said.

Brown said he also will have two advisory groups that will help him. One will be UTC's head coaches and the other will be a small group of major donors to the athletic department.

"I think it's going to be fun," he said of the search. "It's going to be quite labor intensive, but I'm very hopeful that it will be a process that will indeed identify some people who are really, really well suited to be here."

UTC will likely have some competition in the search from within the Southern Conference following Georgia Southern's announcement Friday that Sam Baker is retiring after 17 years as the Eagles' athletic director.

"With their stated interest in moving to a conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision at some point, there will probably be a different pool," Brown said. "I'm hoping that we won't be totally competing for the same names, but I'm sure there will be some overlap."

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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