Mike Buddie withdraws from UTC AD search - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mike Buddie withdraws from UTC AD search

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Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Mike Buddie will not be the next athletic director at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The associate athletic director at Wake Forest, who was one of three finalists for the position, officially withdrew his name from consideration Thursday. The school confirmed his decision in a statement, but did provide any further information.

A call and an email to Buddie went unreturned Thursday afternoon.

Buddie interviewed with the search committee and school officials on campus Tuesday, expressing excitement about the rare "perfect storm" opportunity Chattanooga's athletic director position currently offers.

"You look at the conference affiliation, its history of success and its region, and it's rare that all three of those get a 'thumbs up,'" the 42-year-old Buddie said in his brief meeting with the media. "This is a place I'd love to raise my family. There's a new chancellor coming in, which to me is a positive because you get a chance to mesh your values with that new leader.

"Then also here you get a chance to come in and make a key hire with the two basketball programs to kind of put your stamp on the programs. It's almost a perfect storm as far as athletic director jobs go."

Buddie, who started in sports administration at his alma mater after a 13-year career in professional baseball, had the fewest years of experience within an athletic department of the three finalists, but said he did not believe it was a detriment.

His departure from the race leaves University of Tennessee senior associate athletic director David Blackburn and former Middle Tennessee State and North Carolina State athletic director Lee Fowler as the two remaining finalists for the job.

Blackburn interviewed on campus Monday, while Fowler was the final candidate to visit Wednesday.

Laura Herron has served as the school's interim athletic director since Rick Hart left for SMU last July. The new hire is expected to be announced within the next week.

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