Tennessee Temple University President Danny Lovett said he was planning to transition into a full-time pastor position at Highland Parks Baptist Church, but a plagiarism concern brought forward to the board by some students speeded up the process.
"Even if it wasn't for this, I promise you we were already talking about making the transition this year," he said in a phone interview from Belgium, where he's attending a pastor conference.
The plagiarism incident comes from Lovett's first book, "Jesus is Awesome," written in 1998.
Lovett said author Buddy Murphrey contacted him two years ago saying someone had brought to his attention that parts of his book had been plagiarized.
The men reached an agreement, but Lovett wouldn't discuss the amount.
He said it was a mistake he corrected, but he didn't notify the board when it happened.
D. Jim O'Neill, executive vice president at Tennessee Temple University, will become the interim president on July 1.
Lovett is expected to return to Chattanooga next week.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.