The UT Men’s Athletic department has gone through changes the last couple of years. They have had multiple coaches, players come and got a new Men’s Athletic director. The men are no longer alone dealing with these changes, the women are joining the men.
Pat Summitt has stepped down as head coach of women’s basketball and has taken over the position as coach emeritus. This will allow her to help with recruiting, watch practices and help coaches analyze practices. Believe it or not, Summitt stepping aside is just the beginning for the changes happening in the women’s department.
The vice chancellor of athletics, Dave Hart, has decided to raise the bar. “For our coaches, our student-athletes and staff, we’re raising the bar. We’re raising standards across the board. That’s the only way you get better,” says Hart.
UT announced last June that they would strive to bring the men’s and women’s departments under one roof. Hart has announced the merger of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving under Lady Vols coach, Matt Kredich. Hart also reveiled a resurrection of the athletic department which will lay off 17 employees and save $2.5 million. “We simply had a volume of people, driven by the fact that we had been separate programs for a long time,” Hart said.
The main goal, Hart says, is to focus on the long term goal. The football program is one of the top priorities. UT just wants a leaner more efficient department.
Through all the changes the Lady Vol program can remain confident that Hart will remain an advocate for the women as well as the men. All these changes aren’t the cut down on the athletic department just make it resemble the colleges that are building championship programs.
Hart remains confident that the athletic departments will prosper under all the change. “We will not allow our financial challenges to cut into the fiber of our pursuit of excellence,” Hart said. “We will not.”