UT cuts 17 jobs in athletics department

Led by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart, and as part of an ongoing assessment of the University of Tennessee department of athletics and the consolidation of the previously separate men’s and women’s athletics departments, an initial reorganization and restructuring phase has been completed.

The restructuring plan, which has been underway for several months, has been reviewed by the appropriate University officials, including the Chancellor, the Office of the General Counsel, and the UT Human Resources department. All employees impacted by this restructuring have been notified that their positions will be eliminated on June 1, 2012, and provided with the opportunity to utilize all resources offered by the Human Resources department.

During this process, an examination of peer institutions in both the conference and the nation revealed that the number of employees within UT Athletics exceeds that of comparable athletics departments and that certain functions continue to be duplicated, both factors in the decisions reached relating to the restructuring effort.

The mission of the University of Tennessee department of athletics is to inspire and support student-athletes in the pursuit of comprehensive excellence. As a step toward living that mission, the restructuring plan attempts to reposition UT Athletics for the future in a strategic fashion in order to maximize competitiveness and gain the greatest value from the resources utilized by the department.

The financial impact of this restructuring is significant, as a total savings against the 2012-13 budget in terms of personnel costs of nearly $2.5 million is expected. A total of 17 full-time positions within the department of athletics have been eliminated, representing a savings of $1.03 million. The department will also realize approximately $850,000 in savings from a combination of unfilled positions being eliminated, resignations, retirements and terminations and another $625,000 in savings resulting from reductions in the number of student employees (managers, graduate assistants, and interns).

The department’s primary goals in this endeavor include the following:
• Consolidating the men’s and women’s athletics departments into a single, unified department with a clear direction.
• Creating unity and clear lines of accountability for all department employees.
• Eliminating duplications and inefficiencies so that a greater percentage of the department’s financial resources could be directed toward student-athlete needs and initiatives.
• Providing an administrative structure that puts student-athletes at the core of our mission and creates the best environment for them to compete for championships and grow as students and people.

As is the case with many comparable institutions, significant financial challenges are on the horizon for the department of athletics. Creating a more efficient and effective organization, combined with becoming better stewards of available financial resources, is critical in order to meet the challenges of the financial landscape moving forward. In order to build a strategy relative to our current and future financial position, difficult decisions have to be made with respect to personnel and key areas within the overall operating budget.

It is important to note, however, that none of the financial decisions made will have a negative impact on the competitiveness of our individual sport programs. If anything, an efficient and financially sound athletics department will rise to meet the needs and challenges of our sport programs and their student-athletes in a more effective manner. These decisions will not cut into the fiber of our pursuit of comprehensive excellence.

The updated University of Tennessee department of athletics executive and senior administrative staffs are listed below:

Executive Staff
Dave Hart, Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics
David Blackburn, Senior Associate Athletics Director/Football Administration
Chris Fuller, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development and External Relations
Jon Gilbert, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director
Bill Myers, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Business Operations/CFO
Jimmy Stanton, Associate Athletics Director, Communications
Donna Thomas, Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator
Mike Ward, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration and Sport Programs

Senior Administrative Staff All Sport Oversight Administrators
Academics/Dir. of the Thornton Ath. Center – TBD David Blackburn – Football
Business Office – Tyler Johnson Jon Gilbert – Men’s Basketball
Compliance – Todd Dooley Angie Keck – M&W Golf/Volleyball/Rowing
Development – Greg Hulen Carmen Tegano – Baseball
Event Management – David Elliott Donna Thomas – Women’s Basketball/Track
Facilities – Kevin Zurcher and Field/Cross Country
Football Operations – Brad Pendergrass Mike Ward – Softball, Soccer
Housing/Dining – Dara Worrell Dara Worrell – Swimming & Diving/Tennis
Information Technology – Thomas Moats
Marketing – Doug Kose
Media Relations – Jason Yellin
Sports Medicine – Jason McVeigh
Strength and Conditioning – Ron McKeefery
Ticketing – Joe Arnone
Vol Network Representative – Steve Early


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