Although there is no timetable for the replacement of former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga vice chancellor and athletic director David Blackburn, there will most certainly be a lot of interest for the position.
And because of Blackburn's success, his replacement will have a tough standard to meet.
All six of the head coaches he hired in his four-year tenure, which ended when he resigned Tuesday, have shown promise. Two of those — former men's basketball coaches Matt McCall and Will Wade — have moved on, with Wade now at LSU (by way of VCU) and McCall about to begin his first season at Massachusetts. Blackburn's most recent hires, football coach Tom Arth and men's basketball coach Lamont Paris, have not coached in a game for UTC but have had solid early reviews for their offseason work.
In replacing Blackburn, the university wants to take time to make the best possible decision.
UTC could hire internally, because four of its senior associate athletic directors have résumés worth considering. Scott Altizer has assumed the interim role, having just completed his third season as the senior associate AD for internal operations. He spent 20 years in different roles in the University of Tennessee athletic department, most recently as the director of football operations.
Laura Herron spent time as UTC's interim AD after Rick Hart left for SMU in 2013, has 22 years of experience in the athletic department and is the senior women's administrator. Jay Blackman just completed his ninth season in the athletic department, having been promoted to associate AD in 2012. Andrew Horton, a UTC graduate, is the senior associate AD for external operations, helping primarily in marketing around the university.
One of the primary responsibilities — and perhaps the most daunting task — for the next AD is to attempt to increase fundraising that could aid in the completion of projects around campus and help retain head coaches who might otherwise be pulled away by other programs.
In addition to the aforementioned candidates, the Times Free Press has compiled a list of four others who could make sense as the Mocs' next AD:
- Philip Fulmer, former Tennessee football coach: Mocs fans need to get over the idea that Fulmer would be a bad hire. He was the driving force behind the rebirth of the East Tennessee State football program, serving as a paid consultant while helping reboot a program that hadn't played a game since 2004. It was no secret that, had Blackburn been offered and accepted the job as Tennessee AD, he was prepared to bring Fulmer on primarily to handle fundraising efforts.
- Marvin Lewis, Georgia Tech associate AD: Lewis made news recently as he was named one of 13 "NextUp" administrators, which are 13 handpicked senior administrators selected by some of the nation's most respected athletic directors as people most ready to be an AD. Lewis played basketball at Georgia Tech, graduated in 2004 and began working at a regional accounting firm in Atlanta. He has since worked at Maryland, Georgia State and Georgia Tech, where he currently manages the athletic department's annual budget and oversees the business office, equipment operations and information technology.
- Ryan Peck, North Texas senior associate AD: Peck started his professional career at UTC, where he was the director of marketing and promotions. He was also a goalkeeper for the Chattanooga Football Club during that time. He then spent five years at the University of Denver, where he was credited with securing more than 50 new scholarship endowments, achieving 100 percent student-athlete and staff giving, completing multiple capital enhancement projects and expanding media exposure across all sports. He was also part of a department that captured numerous I-AAA Learfield Sports Directors' Cups.
- Kevin White, SMU associate AD: White prepped at McCallie before going to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He and his twin brother Kenny went to the University of North Carolina, where Kevin graduated in 2001. He started his career at Georgia State as a graduate assistant before moving up the ranks into an administrative role. He moved to SMU in 2014, where he serves under former UTC athletic director Rick Hart. In addition to his administrative role, he serves as the athletic department's chair of the annual fundraising Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign, where each year the goal is to reach 100 percent (faculty and staff) participation.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.