April 16, 2005
Athletics Director Mike Hamilton announced renovations on Neyland Stadium are scheduled to begin at the conclusion of the 2005 football season at the spring meeting of the Athletics Board held Saturday morning.
Phase I of the multi-stage project will include the development of 414 club seats with an adjacent hospitality center and an update in the infrastructure (electrical, lighting, sanitary and water) in the lower stadium levels. Improvements to the north concourses on levels one and two are included in Phase I as well. The project will be completed by the beginning of the 2006 football season with Phase II scheduled to begin at the conclusion of it.
Other building projects scheduled include the a softball facility and a soccer facility. Both of those will be started by December and completed by August 2006. Two other projects temporarily on hold are the golf practice facility and the aquatic center. A land swap is being negotiated with Knox County and the Tennessee Valley Authority for the golf facility, and a request for bids for the aquatic center is scheduled to go out in August.
The NCAA recertification process is also nearing a conclusion. The university has submitted its report to the NCAA. The NCAA responded to it, and the university has responded to those comments. The final step is the site visit from the NCAA and is scheduled for the end of the April.
Revenues for men's athletics stood at $61.1 million for 2005 with revenues for women's athletics at $6 million. The men's department expenditures included $1.5 million for academic scholarships, $1.8 million for the Thornton Center and a transfer of $6.9 million to women's athletics.
Hamilton also announced the apparel contract with adidas was extended for another five years for $19.3 million. This puts the university in the top three nationally in revenue deemed from apparel contracts. Hamilton addressed the issue of a 12th football game saying the decision is now in the hands of the NCAA Management Council. The addition of the game has had little opposition throughout the approval process. The additional game means approximately $3.2 million in additional revenue to the university. Hamilton said a seventh home game will be added if the proposal is approved likely with a mid-major conference opponent.
Dr. Ruth Darling will be leaving her position as director of the Thornton Center to become director of the university-wide Student Success Center. She will still be overseeing the Thornton Center but the day-to-day operation will fall to her successor. The search is underway for that position which should be filled by July.
Bruce Pearl was also introduced as the head men's basketball coach.
"There is nobody happier to be at Tennessee than me," Pearl said. "I see excellence across the board when I look at Tennessee, and I am going to bring men's basketball up to that level. We are going to expect excellence from our student-athletes academically and on the court, and we are going to put them in the position to do that. I have worked hard my whole life for this opportunity, and I promise you I will give this job everything I have everyday."
Women's athletics director Joan Cronan was pleased to report the most successful year in Lady Vol history is underway. Five SEC championships have been claimed thus far this season. Volleyball, soccer, cross country and basketball have all won a conference championship. Women's indoor track also claimed the SEC Championship but topped that with the National Championship.