KNOXVILLE — Dave Hart has made his first significant personnel moves as Tennessee’s vice chancellor and athletic director 23 days into his tenure.
UT announced Friday that Alabama administrators Jon Gilbert and Mike Ward will join Hart in Knoxville and begin work on Oct. 31. Gilbert is currently the associate athletic director for external operations for the Crimson Tide, and Ward has been Alabama’s associate athletic director for compliance since 2008.
“We are excited about the addition of two outstanding administrators and people in Jon Gilbert and Mike Ward,” Hart said in a university release. “These hires represent the beginnings of the formation of our leadership team for Tennessee athletics, many of whom are already in place, including David Blackburn and Chris Fuller.”
Blackburn is UT’s senior associate athletic director for administration, and Fuller is the senior associate athletic director for external operations.
The 43-year-old Gilbert will be the executive senior associate athletic director and handle the “oversight of the daily comprehensive operations” of the athletic department, according to the release. He played football at Lenoir-Rhyne and earned his graduate degree from Eastern Kentucky, where he was a graduate assistant for the football program.
Ward, 35, will be UT’s senior associate athletic director for administration and sports programs. His duties include the “point of contact on all legal matters” for the athletic department, the oversight of the compliance staff and the command of “the evaluation, planning and development of the strategic planning process.”
The 1999 Alabama graduate worked for a private law firm in Dallas for two years before joining the NCAA as assistant director of enforcement in 2003.
UT’s athletic department is merging the men’s and women’s departments under Hart.
“What separates really good corporations, really good organizations from great ones, it always comes back to people,” Hart said when he was hired in September. “Always. You look at an athletic team, you name the sport, that might be struggling and suddenly a new coach is infused into the program. Same players — different, better results.”
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...