College Football College Football

Vols promote Hamilton to head AD

Posted: Saturday May 10, 2003 7:17 PM
Updated: Saturday May 10, 2003 7:17 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The University of Tennessee promoted associate athletic director Mike Hamilton to AD on Saturday, after considering several athletic directors at other universities.

Hamilton, 39, replaces Doug Dickey, who will retire June 30 after 18 years.

A Clemson graduate, Hamilton came to Tennessee in 1992 and has been in charge of the athletic department's donor program, the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Program. Donations increased from $4 million a year before he arrived to $25 million last year. His responsibilities last year increased to include basketball operations.

"We did a thorough and exhaustive national search," said university President John Shumaker, who made the final decision. "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 men's athletic director at the University of Tennessee."

Shumaker said Hamilton's contract was still being negotiated.

Shumaker assembled a last-minute press conference on the steps of his home to announce the decision. Head football coach Phillip Fulmer, men's basketball coach Buzz Peterson, women's athletic director Joan Cronan and university trustees Jim Haslam and John Thornton were among the university officials present.

The university hired Dr. Charles Knapp, a consultant for Heidrick & Struggles, for $65,000 plus expenses to identify possible candidates.

Hamilton had great support from the athletic department, including coaches and boosters, during his candidacy.

"I certainly think very highly of Mike Hamilton," Fulmer said. "It's great for Mike Hamilton, but it's also great for Tennessee."

Several current ADs, including Wake Forest's Ron Wellman, TCU's Eric Hyman, Boston College's Gene DeFilippo and Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione, were contacted but took their names out of consideration.

Hamilton made his interest obvious from the beginning and believed he would end up with the job, despite months of waiting.

"My theory during the process was to be the last man standing," Hamilton said.

Shumaker quipped: "That became very clear."

Dickey said Hamilton deserved to be his successor because of his knowledge of the university and respect among his peers.

"I've been with him at national meetings. He holds his own with everybody," Dickey said.

Shumaker eschewed criticism that the search process took too long and unnecessarily involved a search firm.

"I found my own guy. We didn't offer [the job] to anyone else," Shumaker said. "We wanted to make sure our instincts stood up to scrutiny."

Hamilton, accompanied Saturday by his wife Beth, is a native of Brevard, N.C. He worked in fundraising at Clemson and Wake Forest before coming to Tennessee.

With Hamilton's hiring, Dickey has two former assistants who are ADs at Southeastern Conference schools. Mitch Barnhart was an assistant at Tennessee before leaving for Oregon State and then becoming Kentucky's AD.

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