CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- David Blackburn admitted he had to say "I don't know" a few more times than he liked while answering questions during his visit to the Chattanooga Quarterback Club on Monday.
However, the newly-hired University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic director has a pretty good reason for not yet diving into future plans for scheduling, fund-raising and facilities.
"There's so many things I haven't been able to learn yet because, frankly speaking, all I've done is work on the men's and women's coaching search," Blackburn said.
Finding head coaches for both the men's and women's basketball programs was the biggest and most immediate concern for Blackburn when he was hired in April.
It's also extremely time-consuming.
The interview process had not yet concluded as of Monday afternoon, but the cut for two finalists in each search is expected to come in the next two days.
Blackburn said ideally he'd like to introduce his new hires within the next seven-to-ten days.
"We want to get it down on both sides, really tight, in the next 48 hours and hope to get it finalized in the next week," he said. "I don't let much grass go under my feet. I'm always moving, and we started working on this right away.
"That's not to say that other things aren't also important, but the timing of this made it imperative to get it done quickly and get it right."
As to who it could be, Blackburn refused to identify any potential finalists to "protect the integrity of the search."
The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported Monday that Marquette assistant Tyler Summitt, son of legendary Lady Vols' head coach Pat Summitt, interviewed for the Lady Mocs' position over the weekend.
Sources also told Channel 3 that Virginia Commonwealth assistant Will Wade is among those who have interviewed for the men's post. Wade was also on a list of five potential finalists identified by the Chattanooga Times Free Press over the weekend.
Blackburn cited the reports, and he did his best to cloud the process with a little coaching search humor.
"The names, if I threw them at you, you'd be amazed," he said to a packed room at Finley Stadium. "I know there's been reports in the media, but please don't believe everything you see.
"However," he added with a smile, "a lot of what you see is accurate. Clear as mud, right?"
While he didn't go into great detail on who has applied, Blackburn did express plenty of excitement over the process as a whole.
While he expected the openings to attract much interest, he was "overwhelmed" by the size of the response, who was responding and how passionate they already seemed to be about UTC.
"I'm still a little bit amazed at the interest we've had, and how much the candidates know about and appreciate the tradition of both sides," he said. "It's been very encouraging for us to have that feedback from them."
For the most part, Blackburn's feedback from the Quarterback Club was extremely positive, as well.
While he may not yet be digging into other important topics like facilities, funds and future schedules, the Loudon, Tenn., native still offered plenty of insight into some plans for each.
Blackburn understands the need and the opportunity for growth within the Chattanooga community, and has a vision on how to achieve it.
The basketball hirings will be his first big steps toward earning the support of Mocs' nation, though the 30-plus minutes he spent shaking hands and sharing laughs with anyone and everyone after Monday's meeting likely helped a bit, too.
"I don't expect to have your belief and trust in me yet. That's something I have to earn," said Blackburn, who expects to continue his meeting and greeting Tuesday at the annual Porky's Open fund-raising golf tournament at Council Fire. "I hope that you'll get to know me and I'll get to know all of you. I know we won't always agree on everything, but we'll treat each other with respect.
"And I'm going to do everything I can to make Chattanooga better today than it was yesterday and better tomorrow than it is today."
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