Tennessee fans offer strong opinion on AD search to new Chancellor

Oct 15, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones runs on to the field before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a big question on the minds of many in Knoxville: Who will replace Dave Hart as the new Athletic Director at Tennessee?

It’s been a big topic of conversation. Hart announced his decision to retire this past August, and the official retirement will go into effect on June 30.

It is a bit curious as to why a hire hasn’t been made yet. Many programs act quickly when trying to pursue the best individual for the job. In Tennessee’s case, it’s been taking its sweet time.

Former head coach Phil Fulmer has been seen attending multiple UT sporting events in recent weeks. Some believe he’s in the mix for the vacancy — although there are others hoping this won’t be the case. There are those hoping the hire will branch away from the Tennessee tree, thought the candidate would preferably have ties/knowledge to the region. Others would welcome any candidate with Volunteer ties.

New Chancellor-elect Beverly J. Davenport tweeted out this message on Tuesday:

While this wasn’t a formal inquiry of opinion, many Vol fans on Twitter proceeded to voice their opinion as to whom should be the next athletic director.

The big favorite? Current UT-Chattanooga AD David Blackburn. The 50-year-old has extensive ties to the program. Blackburn graduated from the university, and then worked under Fulmer for 10 years as the director of football operations, the assistant athletic director for football operations, and as the assistant director of compliance.

Blackburn was then named as the senior associate athletic director for administration in 2008 before leaving for Chattanooga five years later.

Here are some of the responses from these ardent fans on social media:


Will Blackburn be the ultimate hire? Only time will tell.


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  • Blackburn is the smart/safe choice. Regional ties + Chatt is good at every sport. Fulmer has no experience in anything but fund raising and having connections. Listen to your head and not your heart. Put Fulmer in some other administrative role and let him kiss some hands and shake some babies, or something like that.

  • Let blackburn run the whole department as head AD, and let fulmer work exclusively with the football program, fundraising and possibly recuiting in some fashion. Its really a no brainer here

  • I have to believe that Philip Fulmer will be in there in someway, if not AD then a top assistant to the DA. The guy bleeds orange and is devoted to the university, his input to me would be valuable to the athletic department…Florida has done something similiar with Steve Spurrier.

    • Build him a big corner office and name the field after him. Just watch out if he starts getting in front of the camera after hitting the sauce.