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Hart named new UTC Athletics Director

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Roger Brown announced Richard L. Hart as the Mocs’ new Athletics Director at a media conference held Tuesday.

“Rick rose to the top for us from a very strong pool of candidates,” said Brown. “His experience in athletics marketing and promotion will be a huge asset to our athletics program as we work to encourage more fans to attend our events. He also brings a strong background in fund raising, game operations, facilities management, and overall administration that will benefit both Mocs athletics and the UTC campus as a whole.”

Previously the senior associate athletic director for external operations at the University of Oklahoma, Hart has spent the last seven years at that institution building a career primarily in marketing and with direct oversight of Oklahoma’s men’s and women’s tennis, the development office, ticket office, marketing and promotions, licensing, information technology, event management, game operations, and facilities. He told the crowd gathered at UTC he had three priorities.

“I want to focus on the student athlete, operate with honesty and integrity, and engage the community while working to enhance the resources of the UTC athletic programs,” Hart said. 

During Hart’s tenure at Oklahoma, records for attendance and ticket sales have been established in nearly every sport.  Annual contributions to the Sooner Club are projected to surpass an all-time annual giving record of $17 million; gross licensing revenues were increased from $400,000 in 1999 to over $3 million in 2005. 

Under Hart’s direction, third-party partnerships at Oklahoma have been extended to create enhanced fan experience, increased annual revenues and greater visibility and exposure for the institution and its athletics programs.  Hart was also responsible for launching a unique program which added eight fully-endowed scholarships during the current fiscal year.

By saying he was “surrounded by athletics my entire life,” Hart alluded to one of his strengths—a legacy of athletics administrators beginning with his grandfather, Dave Hart, who was once the Southern Conference commissioner, and his father, Dave Hart, Jr., who is the Florida State athletics director.

“I am very happy and proud that Rick has been selected to be the Athletics Director at UTC,” said Hart’s father, Dave Jr.  “I believe he has certainly proven himself among his peers in this profession and that he is more than ready to assume this role. He is fortunate to have worked for some wonderful people at outstanding universities and is now going to have that same opportunity at yet another excellent university as its athletics director. It certainly seems to be a very good fit, and he is genuinely excited about every aspect of the job.”

Hart has also worked for UNC, East Carolina University and the U.S. Olympic Committee.  A 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Hart earned the B.A., Physical Education, Health and Sport Science.

Along with his wife, Allison—also a graduate of North Carolina, the couple has one son and one daughter.  After introducing his family as “the most important thing on earth,” Hart said he looks forward to the future.

“I am ecstatic to be here before you today,” Hart said.  “We will make everyone proud to call themselves a Mocs fan.”

Hart replaces Steve Sloan, who recently retired after four years at UTC Athletics Director.

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May 23, 2006

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