The retirement of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga chancellor Roger Brown later this month, rather than early next year as previously planned, will bring the search for a new athletic director to a temporary halt.
Brown said the search for Rick Hart's replacement -- Hart left UTC in July to be the AD at Southern Methodist University -- will be suspended until the process of hiring a new chancellor is further along.
"As soon as we have a level of comfort that the pool of chancellor candidates is at a small enough level, we will talk to all of those candidates about the urgency of this search and we will then restart," Brown said. "I think it will be in late fall. That's a best guess."
UTC hired the search firm of Collegiate Sports Associates in August. Brown said he anticipated that the school would be able to retain CSA's services once the search resumes.
Interim athletic director Laura Herron said she was fine with running the department a while longer. In fact, she said she might now move into Hart's old office instead of staying in her smaller office next door.
"We always said we'd make no major changes during my tenure, and that will stand," she said. "We'll keep operating day to day, keep winning games, and hopefully people will come out to the games."
Herron said she didn't anticipate any major issues having to be addressed in the months ahead. Brown said UT system president Joe DiPietro ideally would like a new chancellor in place by the start of spring semester, which could lead to a new athletic director being named as soon as February or March.
Brown has been a pro-athletics chancellor who often refers to the department as the "front porch" to the university.
"He was always there to cheer on the athletes at events, and I think we'll still see him around," Herron said. "He's been a great friend to athletics."
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