June 9, 2011
KNOXVILLE -- University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek announced today that director of women's athletics Joan Cronan will serve as interim vice chancellor/director of athletics, which will be the senior administrator position for Tennessee Athletics, until a permanent vice chancellor/director of athletics is named.
Cronan will play a critical role in the continuing consolidation of the men's and women's athletic departments at UT.
"Joan Cronan epitomizes the Volunteer spirit," Cheek said. "She has been a vital part of Tennessee Athletics for thirty years and will provide proven leadership during our transitional period. I appreciate her willingness to assume this responsibility."
Cronan has served UT for thirty years and has been in her current role of director of women's athletics since the 1983-84 season. She also was the head women's basketball coach from 1968 to 1970 before a ten-year stint at College of Charleston from 1973 to 1983, where her service included being director of women's athletics, head women's basketball coach, head women s tennis coach, and head volleyball coach.
"I am humbled and honored by this opportunity, and I greatly appreciate the chancellor's faith in me," said Cronan. "This is an exciting time for Tennessee Athletics, as we have a great team of coaches, staff, and student-athletes. It has been a tremendous honor to serve this university for thirty years, and I am grateful for the chance to play an integral role in helping shape the bright future of Tennessee Athletics."
An industry leader who has served a variety of organizations in addition to her responsibilities at UT, Cronan was the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics from 2008 to 2009. Additionally, she was president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Administrators of Athletics (NACWAA) from 2007 to 2008. She also has served on the NCAA and SEC Executive Committees as well as on the NCAA's Management Council and Championship Cabinet.
The person who is named vice chancellor/director of athletics will serve as the senior administrator of the entire athletics department, with Cronan serving as the director of women's athletics and a member of the chancellor's cabinet until June 30, 2012, reporting to the chancellor. From July 1, 2012, until June 30, 2014, she will assume the role of senior adviser to the vice chancellor and chancellor.
JOAN CRONAN QUOTES
"First of all, I want to say how humbled and honored I am to accept this Vice Chancellor position and Interim Athletic Director. It's an exciting time. When I think about history and where we started, I've actually been an athletic director for 38 years. It's been a long time. This is an opportunity to look to the future. When I was offered this job I said, `Why?' and `Why not?' The why is I love Tennessee. The why is I love the Big Orange. The why is that we're good and I want us to continue. The challenge is the transition. The challenge is we haven't had a great year but the future is bright. I look forward to having the opportunity to lead this program into the future.
"My job as an athletic director has always been to look at how do you make the coaches the job the best it can be to make the athletes' experience the best it can be to make the university be represented with class. That's what I'm going to continue to do and I'm going to continue to do it for both men's and women's athletics.
"I've worked in this position here at Tennessee for a long time. I know all of our plusses and all of our minuses. I look forward to helping be the solution. I told our coaches today that I hope when it's all over they say, `She was an AD that listened. She was an AD that really cared.' And I think you're going to see that.
"My goal right now is to bring stability and bring a feeling of `We're going to be OK.' Because we are going to be OK. I look around at other athletic departments. We're in pretty good shape when you talk about financially and competitively. I met with all of our head coaches today and I told them, `You're all great and my job is to be sure you get to be as good as you can possibly be.'
"I think that there are so many different ingredients of an athletic director and there are so many different models. What I want to do is find the right person, he or she, for Tennessee that's going to this program into the future. That's what I'm looking for is that opportunity for somebody to bring stability and go forward. We have the groundwork. We have the foundation. We just need to go forward."