Four Cornered: Hamilton Resigns as University of Tennessee Athletic Director

Patrick MacCoonContributor IJune 7, 2011

Out of Office- Mike Hamilton resigned as the UT men's athletic director today. He was named AD in 2003.
Out of Office- Mike Hamilton resigned as the UT men's athletic director today. He was named AD in 2003.

On Tuesday morning after many trials and tribulations, Mike Hamilton announced his resignation as the University of Tennessee men’s Athletic Director, the title which he had held since replacing Doug Dickey in 2003.

News outlets across the country heard of the news this morning, first after receiving confirmation on an email sent from University of Tennessee President Joe DePietro to the UT Board of Trustees, informing them of Hamilton’s resignation, which will be effective June 30.

During the 11 a.m. press conference at the Stokely Family Media Center, located inside Neyland Stadium, a well spirited Hamilton acknowledged that over the course of the last 18 months, he’d become a lightning rod for negative publicity for the university and it was inevitably time for him to step down.

A statement was issued by the University on Hamilton’s behalf today.

“My family and I love the University of Tennessee, and we love Knoxville. We have poured out our lives over the last 19 years to try to make this a better community, a better athletic program and a better university.”

He also went on to say, “We have without a doubt, the best staff, coaches, student-athletes and fans in America.”

Although his intentions may have been for the best, his questionable decisions and deceitfulness ended up wearing out his welcome in Knoxville.

After firing and removing several coaches over the last five years and making more than questionable hires in the UT athletic department, not to mention the men’s football and basketball teams breaking many NCAA rules under his watch, Hamilton has now, one could say, fired himself.

His departure from the University of Tennessee is most notably linked to a long list of setbacks to the athletic program, which includes the NCAA investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin and the disappointing tenure of baseball coach Todd Raleigh, who was let go last month.

Despite helping bring University of Tennessee athletics to the national spotlight and being an avid and respected fundraiser during his tenure as athletic director, Hamilton will leave the program in rough waters for his successor.

However, despite his resignation, Hamilton will still attend the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions hearing Saturday in Indianapolis. The university has been charged with major violations in football and men’s basketball.

UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek will be the one to choose Hamilton’s replacement for the time being. Cheek also had a positive statement about Hamilton’s tenure as a whole.

“The University of Tennessee's athletic programs have experienced great success under Mike Hamilton's leadership. Mike has led our teams to success on and off the field.”

Hamilton left to the applause of coaches and administrators after his 18-minute press conference.