An Open Letter to UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport

By Alex Norman

 

Dear Chancellor,

Good day to you and yours.  Hopefully the move to Knoxville has been a pleasant one, and the keys to your new office are working properly.

Now that you are on the job I have three suggestions that will make your tenure as the Chancellor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville a successful one.  You will find out that these are fairly simple yet effective ways to secure your place in the history books in a positive way.

First of all, as you have surely heard by now, Tennessee is in need of a new athletic director.  Dave Hart announced that he would be retiring back in August of 2016 and for some reason, the University decided to wait more than 6 months (and running!) for this process to really get going.

UT has hired the search firm Turnkey Sports & Entertainment and will pay them more than $75,000 to help find the new AD.  This is happening because apparently the University you now work for is flush with cash.  UT has also formed a 6-person search committee to advise you, a committee that includes UT alum, Pilot Flying J CEO and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, as well as Peyton Manning.

Everyone is there to help you.  I’d advise you to say thanks but no thanks, get in your car, and make the short drive down I-75 to hire UT-Chattanooga athletic director David Blackburn as the next AD at UT-Knoxville.

So a quick search of your mentions on twitter and you’ll see that Blackburn has an absurd popularity rating.  Tennessee fans want a Tennessee guy to run the show, especially one with decades of experience at a variety of jobs in the Tennessee athletic department.

Some will want former Vols football coach Phillip Fulmer to get the job.  Bring him along as a special assistant.  As stated earlier, I just assume there is a vault over there that you can dive into a pile of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.

No one will criticize you for hiring Blackburn. And anyone that does criticize you for hiring Blackburn is a fool that doesn’t have any idea about Tennessee athletics in the first place.

He is the best candidate for the job.  This is the easiest call you can make.

Second, you might wonder why the women’s basketball team is called the Lady Vols and the rest of the women’s sports teams at Tennessee are called the Vols.  That’s a really good question!

Your predecessor Jimmy Cheek and (hopefully soon) outgoing AD Dave Hart (seriously, call Blackburn now I have his number) thought that this was the best thing for UT.  They were 100% incorrect.    Tennessee fans either wanted the status quo or they were indifferent.

No one was in favor of this change.

So… after you’ve hired a new AD (for real email Blackburn once done reading this article), announce that the Lady Vols name will return to its rightful place for the softball, golf, and every other Tennessee women’s team.

This certainly couldn’t hurt considering the reputation for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville when it comes to Title IX related issues.

Merchandize sales will go up, and you’ll get some much needed PR for a department that made mistake after mistake in that regard in recent years.

And finally.  When Peyton Manning visits Knoxville (which he does at least a couple of times a year), clear your schedule and make sure to get a picture taken with him.  Put the picture on your twitter feed.  If people see you with Peyton they will assume you are a terrific person that has the best interests of the University at heart.

And that’s it.  Hire Blackburn, bring back the Lady Vols, and take a picture with Peyton Manning.

Do those things and you’ll be fine for a decade.

Trust me.

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