KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee had opted against giving athletic director Dave Hart a contract extension with a raise before he announced he was stepping down, according to documents obtained in a public records request by The Associated Press.
In an Aug. 10 email, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro told Chancellor Jimmy Cheek that “for the reasons we have discussed concerning what is in the best interests of the University, including the fact that a new Chancellor will assume office within the next year, I agree with your decision not to extend Mr. Hart’s contract for two years with increased compensation.”
Hart announced Aug. 18 that he was retiring effective June 30 and said at the time he was doing so in part to allow Cheek’s replacement to select a new athletic director. Cheek announced in June he was stepping down to return to teaching.
Hart’s contract was set to expire Sept. 20, 2018. Tennessee is giving Hart a retirement payment of $645,454, representing 75 percent of the aggregate base salary he would have earned between July 1 and the contract expiration date.
Cheek said Monday in a statement that “Dave has chosen to retire next June, so there is no reason for further discussion on a contract extension.”
Tennessee athletic department spokesman Ryan Robinson said that “Dave announced his intention to retire and isn’t going to look back.” Robinson added that “Dave’s excited about his last year at UT.”