The ofttimes rocky tenure of Dave Hart on Rocky Top will come to an end next year.
In an announcement Thursday morning, Hart announced that he will retire as the head of UT’s athletic department effective June 30, 2017. Hart was hired as the Vols’ AD in September of 2011.
One of Hart’s first major personnel moves was firing Derek Dooley in November of 2012 and hiring current head football coach Butch Jones a month later. Hart has overseen an athletic department that posted a surplus of $13.1 million in 2014-15 after facing a deficit of $3.98 million in 2011-12, and watched as the academic performances of all sports programs, football in particular, have improved during his tenure.
In February of 2014, Hart helped shepherd UT’s move from adidas to Nike that was effective in July the following year
Conversely, UT was the plaintiff in a Title IX lawsuit in which eight women alleged the university in general and athletic department specifically “created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players.” In July of this year, the university settled that lawsuit for nearly $2.5 million.
The university also settled a handful of other lawsuits unrelated to the Title IX claims but involving the athletic department.
“As I thought about finishing this job well and how extremely proud I am of what everyone in our department has contributed collectively to get us to where we are today, I decided that this was a good time to set a target to wrap up my career as a Director of Athletics,” Hart said in a statement.
“Our University will name a new Chancellor at some point prior to the conclusion of the academic year which has just begun. This decision will allow that individual to select his or her own person to this leadership role and allow me to lead us through what promises to be a very exciting upcoming year in many respects. The positive energy is tangible, not only in our building, but among Volunteer fans everywhere. That is very gratifying to witness.