KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee has given athletic director Dave Hart a one-year contract extension through 2018.
Hart agreed to a six-year deal when Tennessee hired him in September 2011. His extension doesn't come with a salary bump, but the additional year does provide for an additional $50,000 retention bonus.
After receiving a 3-percent raise last July, Hart now makes a base salary of $592,250, earns an additional $100,000 for media appearances and receives a guaranteed payment of $25,000 for a "non-accountable expense allowance/reimbursement for other expenses," according to his contract.
He received his first $50,000 retention bonus last September and is due another one later this year.
According to USA Today's salary database for athletic directors, Hart's total compensation of $817,250 this year is 14th nationally and fourth in the Southeastern Conference behind Vanderbilt's David Williams, Florida's Jeremy Foley and Jeff Long of Arkansas.
"He has worked hard to develop a more efficient financial model and has put the right people in place, including coaches, to help reach UT's aggressive goals," chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday in the university's release.
"I am pleased that Dave has made this commitment to the University of Tennessee. I look forward to continued progress in our athletics department in our quest for comprehensive excellence both on and off the field."
Hart has overseen the merging of Tennessee's separate men's and women's athletic departments and managed the department's financial problems.
In the 2011-12 fiscal year, Tennessee's athletic department reported a $3.98 million deficit and had its reserve fund drop to $1.9 million, compared to $50 million to $100 million elsewhere in the SEC.
A Sports Business Journal report in January said Tennessee is $200 million in debt and spends $21 million each year in debt payments, though such numbers are common in the SEC.
After firing football coach Derek Dooley late in the Volunteers' third consecutive losing season, Hart worked an agreement that allowed the university to keep $18 million over three years it historically has provided for academic scholarships and fellowships.
A few weeks later, Hart tabbed Butch Jones to turn around Tennessee's ailing football program, which is also the university's largest moneymaker.
"I appreciate the confidence and commitment Chancellor Cheek has demonstrated by extending my contract," Hart said. "Tennessee is a special place and I am committed to the goals we have set and the opportunities we have to make a difference."
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 ...