University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor-Elect Dr. Steve Angle formally introduced the Mocs new Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn to a packed Chattanooga Room in the University Center this afternoon. Hundreds of members of the University community came out to meet, greet and hear from the new leader of UTC Athletics.
An announcement of his appointment to the position was made on Saturday, but this was the first public appearance for Blackburn as the Mocs A.D. He was accompanied by his wife, Andrea, and two daughters, Emma (15) and Charlee (3).
“This athletic director search has garnered a lot of attention and, indeed, it should,” stated Dr. Angle. “The athletic department really is the front door to our campus and it is one that we want to have wide open. We have a strong heritage and foundation of success. It is success that we want to build on.
“As we went through the process, David Blackburn emerged as the hands-down hire. His standards, ethics, personality, background and fit with our campus makes him the total package. We are so delighted to have him here with 22 years of experience with University of Tennessee, extensive fund raising experience and his strong commitment to student-athlete success.”
After introducing his family, Blackburn thanked those in attendance for giving him the opportunity to lead their athletics department. He also took time to thank Interim Director of Athletics Laura Herron for her service to the University over the last nine months.
“To be entrusted with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic program is a great honor, and with that comes great accountability,” stated Blackburn. “I want everyone to know I understand accountability. I hold that dear and I take that very seriously. That entrusting is precious because there are going to be a lot of people coming through here that I will get to know a lot better as time goes on. To entrust someone to lead a department that is an important part of campus is something I want you to know that I will take very seriously. I will hold it to the highest regard and I want you to hold me to that accountability.
“I want to personally thank Laura Herron for helping for this process and transition in such a short period of time, and for what she has done for this school, city and certainly the athletics department. It is hard to do what she has been asked to do, and to selflessly do that takes a special person. From a distance, I could see that and now that I am here I can see why she has been successful. I am going to lean heavily, as I should, on Laura.”
The full video from his introduction is available on MocsVision and attached to this story. Also, be sure to check out the accompanying photo gallery and quotes from the afternoon’s events, as well as the thoughts from others in college athletics throughout the region.
‘What They Are Saying’ about UTC Vice Chancellor & Director of Athletics David Blackburn
Dr. Joe DiPietro – University of Tennessee System President
“Because we so often see talented individuals leave our campuses for career opportunities elsewhere, it’s exciting and gratifying to see David remain within the University of Tennessee family. As a Tennessee native, he understands our state and the challenges facing athletics. David has the knowledge and tenacity to make a smooth transition to Chattanooga, become an embraced member of the community, maintain the integrity of the UTC program and see the Mocs reach new heights.”
Heath Eslinger – UTC Alum (’00) and Head Wrestling Coach
“This is an exciting time for Chattanooga Athletics. We have a lot of momentum and it’s time to take some more steps forward. I believe David Blackburn is the right individual to do just that. I think our fans, supporters, alumni and student-athletes will all be excited about his vision for Chattanooga Athletics. I believe with his leadership great things are coming our way.”
Phillip Fulmer – Tennessee Head Football Coach (1976-92)
“I am really happy for David and I am really happy for UTC. He is a fine individual and an excellent administrator. He understands college athletics from many different standpoints and was crucial in what we accomplished while I was at Tennessee. He is a good family man and I wish him well.”
Mark Guhne – UTC Alum (’84) and Head Men’s Golf Coach
“We were blessed with a tremendous leadership team in Dr. Roger Brown and Rick Hart. Dr. Angle took a big step forward in building on that momentum with David Blackburn. He is going to do great things in getting us to the next level and I’m excited to see him get started.”
Dave Hart – Tennessee Vice Chancellor & Director of Athletics
“David Blackburn is a great person and an outstanding administrator. He and his family are very excited about this opportunity. Our staff is very grateful to David for his tireless efforts on behalf of our athletics department and we wish him much success in his new leadership role.”
Russ Huesman – UTC Alum (’83) and Head Football Coach
“I think the selection committee did an excellent job identifying the right person for the Director of Athletics position. I have heard nothing but positive things about David throughout the college athletics community and I think he will do a great job for us. I am looking forward to working with him as we continue to build our program.”
Butch Jones – Current Tennessee Head Football Coach
“UT Chattanooga has made an excellent choice with David Blackburn as Vice Chancellor & Athletics Director. David is one of the most complete individuals I have been associated with. He is a visionary and possesses the ability to lead, direct, and manage people.”
Johnny Majors – Tennessee Head Football Coach (1976-92)
“I have a great deal of respect for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and I don’t think you could have made a better selection. David is outstanding and I want to see him be successful, but I am surely going to miss him. I knew him since he was a manager in our football program and he is one of the best. He is an outstanding administrator and he will do a fantastic job.”