The University of Tennessee has named a firm to help officials find a new athletics director and it has put together a search committee comprised of some big names, including Peyton Manning, Jimmy Haslam and Raja Jubran.
The college plans to sign a contract with Turnkey Sports and Entertainment to help Chancellor-elect Beverley Davenport replace Dave Hart.
Hart announced his decision to retire last year after a number of controversies surfaced. His last day on the job is set for June 30.
"I am confident with Turnkey's help, we will identify and hire the best person for the job," Davenport said. "I'm looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field. I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs."
In addition, Davenport put together a search committee to advise her during the hiring process.
Committee members are: Donna Thomas, senior associate athletics director; Charlie Anderson, alumnus and UT trustee; former UT and NFL quarterback Manning; Pilot Flying J CEO and Cleveland Browns owner Haslam; and Donald Bruce, UT's faculty representative for the SEC and the NCAA.
Local developer and UT Board of Trustees member Jubran will serve as chairman of the committee.
The firm is expected to being seeking applications and vetting potential candidates as early as next week.
"The outpouring of interest in the new AD is just as I expected,” she said. “This is the premier AD job in the country, and the passion of Big Orange Country is second to none. I appreciate all of the support and words of encouragement I have received.”
Davenport’s full-time appointment as the new chancellor begins Feb. 15.