Mike Hamilton accepts the job as the University of Tennessee Men's Athletic Director in a May 10 press conference at Dr. Shumaker Knoxville home. (Photo: Knoxville News-Sentinel)
May 10, 2003
University president John Shumaker, in a Saturday press conference, announced the hiring of Mike Hamilton as Tennessee's seventh director of athletics. Hamilton will succeed Doug Dickey, who is retiring June 30.
"We did a thorough and exhaustive national search involving several candidates as identified by our consultant, Dr. Charles Knapp of Heidrick & Struggles," Shumaker said. "On the basis of all the information we gathered and the candidates to which we spoke, I am convinced Mike Hamilton is the right man at the right time to be the men's athletic director at the University of Tennessee."
A native of Brevard, N.C., Hamilton, 39, has been in the position of senior associate director of athletics for external operations since September and has been on the UT staff since 1992. He previously served as UT's associate director of athletics for development and marketing. The Clemson University graduate came to Tennessee from Wake Forest University, where he was assistant director of development.
"I've always felt the University of Tennessee athletics director's job was one of the best positions in the nation," Hamilton said. "When I came to Tennessee in 1992, I was well aware of the great tradition the university had -- from Gen. Neyland through Bob Woodruff and to Doug Dickey. I appreciate the confidence Dr. Shumaker has expressed by giving me this opportunity."
Neyland was Tennessee's first athletics director, holding the position several times from 1926-62 when not interrupted by military service. He had temporary replacements in Paul Parker (1935) and John Barnhill (1941-45). Bowden Wyatt was acting director from 1962-63, when Woodruff was named and held the post from 1963-85. Dickey followed Woodruff and has been director for the last 18 years.
"We interviewed and evaluated Mike on the same basis as all the other candidates we measured for the UT assignment," Knapp said. "We recommended him without reservation to Dr. Shumaker as having all the attributes to be successful. Mike Hamilton really measures up well with the very best athletics directors in the country. I am confident he will do a superb job for the University of Tennessee."
Shumaker added his enthusiasm for the choice by saying, "We have compared him with the very best in the field and I am proud to say that everyone feels he can bring distinguished vision and leadership to the university. I look forward to working closely with Mike as a colleague in the years ahead."
Hamilton has led UT's marketing and development program and current facility development campaign, which increased from $4 million a year prior to his arrival to $25 million in generated gifts this past year.
"I think Tennessee has the best coaches in the nation and an athletic department that's dedicated toward supporting their endeavors," Hamilton continued. "We have an outstanding support base that gives us an opportunity to be successful on a national level. I certainly want to keep that tradition moving forward, even though I know there are challenges always in front of us to remain at the top.
"During the process of seeking a replacement for Coach Dickey, I'm certainly grateful for all the support I have received through a number of different avenues -- fans, alumni and university family. It always has been a goal of mine to become an athletics director at some period during my career. I dreamed of the possibility that would be at Tennessee and today is a fulfillment of a goal that any athletic administrator would hope to obtain."