New Chancellor Davenport weighs in on athletic director search

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The role of commander of the Tennessee athletics department is still up for grabs.

Since Dave Hart announced his retirement in August, the rumors have been piling up. Current Chattanooga athletic director David Blackburn was the first name to gain attention but reports this week say the UT grad hasn’t been contacted about the position.

From there, the frontrunner appears to be Phillip Fulmer, the last Tennessee coach to win a national title and conference championship in 1998.

Who will be the next AD? That’s the number one question on Rocky Top.

“No way! You’ve been getting that question?,” University Chancellor Beverly Davenport jokingly replied when asked about the search. “I can’t imagine. Just look at my twitter feed.”

Davenport, whose first day on the job was technically Wednesday, wasted no time when asked at her opening press conference what she would like to see on resumes.

“I’m looking for somebody with integrity, somebody who understands compliance and will absolutely have compliance at the top of their list. Everyone tells me this is the best job in the country so we’re looking for someone who can compete at that level.”

The Bowling Green, Ky. Native put together a search committee over three weeks ago, one that includes Peyton Manning and Jimmy Haslam, the UT grad turned Pilot Flying J CEO and owner of the Cleveland Browns.

“I talk to them every day,” said Davenport. “I talked to them last night. We’re meeting in a couple of days and we’re going to go very quickly now.”

Dave Hart’s contract officially ends June 30.

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