New University of Tennessee at Chattanooga chancellor Steve Angle said Friday, shortly after his appointment was approved by the UT Board of Trustees, that UTC's search for a new athletic director "needs to get going very quickly."
The search began in July, following Rick Hart's departure for Southern Methodist University. A 16-member search committee was created and meetings were held until the search was suspended in September, following former chancellor Roger Brown's retirement.
"There's a search committee that's already in place. I have at least reviewed the membership of it and looked at it," Angle said. "I've read through where we are right now and I've got a call with [interim chancellor Grady Bogue] for Monday to work on this and look at how we can get it going."
Angle, formerly a senior vice president at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, won't start at UTC until July 1. He said the search can't wait until his arrival.
"We need to get going on it now, and it will be an appointment that I hope will be made before July 1," he said.
Interim athletic director Laura Herron agrees.
"I was really happy to hear him say that," said Herron, who has been the acting AD since July 16. "If you get here in July and then try to pick [the search] up, that's not an optimal time. In the spring, as soon as basketball season's over, that's kind of a good time to try to identify your people."
Herron said one of the first big athletics issues she will discuss with Angle is the status of the Southern Conference's membership. With Appalachian State and Georgia Southern possibly heading to the Sun Belt Conference soon and the College of Charleston already departing, the SoCon has a lot to consider in the months ahead.
"We've got to look at matters with the conference, looking at expansion stuff, because that's going to be a huge topic at the spring meetings [in May]," Herron said.
Wright State athletic director Bob Grant said he often worked with Angle on issues, especially when Angle was the provost during the university's budget crunch during the recession. Grant said Angle was "great to work with" and always was a supporter of Wright State sports.
"I certainly worked closely with athletics," Angle said. "I knew the athletics budget inside and out and worked with Bob to make sure that we could run an organization that would be successful.
"We wanted our coaches to have the opportunity to succeed, but we also wanted to make sure we were good stewards of the funds that went to athletics."
Many members of the UTC athletic department were on hand for Angle's introductory news conference Friday in the University Center, including wrestling coach Heath Eslinger, fresh off winning the program's 29th SoCon title Monday.
"We feel like we're an asset to the university and the community," Eslinger said. "It's nice to meet your new overseer and really deep down know, hey, we bring something to the table."