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:
I will give my all to Tennessee today and always.
— Beverly Davenport (@ChancellorDav) February 14, 2017
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:
@ChancellorDav Just hire Blackburn and I'll forgive that you didn't know it was "for" Tennessee.
— Tony Geist (@TonyGeist) February 14, 2017
— Bryan Jackson (Bmac) (@ipull4ut) February 14, 2017
— 3 Star U (@TyK8606) February 14, 2017
— MazeMaster (@TNationals) February 14, 2017
Will Blackburn be the ultimate hire? Only time will tell.