UPDATE: UTC's David Blackburn releases statement on new UT AD
David Blackburn releases statement on Tennessee Athletic Director position.
UPDATE: Tuesday, the University of Tennessee announced their new Athletic Director would be John Currie, from Kansas State. UTC's AD, David Blackburn was also a candidate for the position.
READ MORE | John Currie hired at University of Tennessee AD
Wednesday Blackburn released this statement about Tennessee's selection for Athletic Director:
“After hearing the announcement of the new Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee, I want to let everyone know I wish them well. It is no secret that my name was mentioned as a possible candidate, but I did not interview with the new chancellor or the search committee.
“I remain laser focused on the progression of Chattanooga Athletics and equipping our student-athletes for continued growth and success, in the classroom, in competition and in the community.”
PREVIOUS STORY: NBC SPORTS - In reading the tea leaves in and around Knoxville, it seems most in orange want David Blackburn to be the Volunteers’ new athletics director.
Blackburn wants that, too.
A former Vol student and administrator, Blackburn has racked up an impressive resume as the AD at Chattanooga. Considering his only competition for the job at this point seems to be former Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer — who has zero AD experience — that seems like a logical choice for Big Orange.
While Blackburn has hemmed and hawed around the idea of becoming Tennessee’s next AD over the past, oh, six months since it was announced back in August Dave Hart was on his way out, Friday was the first time he came out and said he’d like to be the next head Vol.
“If asked to be a part of this process officially, in terms of an interview I would love to,” Blackburn, said Friday on WNML FM 99.1 (via SEC Country).
“It would mean the world to me to be able to lead the institution that led me, by all the people that allowed me the opportunity to do what I do.”
The AD search has, understandably, been stuck in a holding pattern until the university could hire and install a new chancellor — which it has now done. Beverly Davenport took office Wednesday and said the school was working “very quickly” to hire a new AD, and seemed to outline Blackburn as the type of leader she’d want to fill the post.
“I’m looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field,” Davenport said in a statement. “I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs.”
It seems like Blackburn will be the eventual choice for Tennessee. Young-ish career administrators with fundraising chops are the new mold for big-time athletics directors — see Florida’s hiring of Scott Stricklin and Alabama’s of Greg Byrne — but this is Tennessee. The Volunteers haven’t been good in football since Fulmer was the head coach, so would it really be any surprise if they turned to him to be their AD?