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UT athletic director releases new five-year plan for athletics program

Called "Rise Glorious" after UT's alma mater song, the plan will serve as the guide for Tennessee Athletics.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Director of Athletics/Vice-Chancellor Danny White announced a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for UT's athletic program.

Called "Rise Glorious" after UT's alma mater song, the plan will serve as the guide for Tennessee Athletics' "impending return to being the best college athletics department in the country," according to documents released from UT. 

Read the whole plan here

The university said White started the strategic planning process in the summer of 2021 by gathering campus and athletics staff, alumni and active student-athletes into a steering committee and six sub-committees, which focused on:

  • Mission, Vision and Core Values
  • Student-Athlete Success
  • Culture
  • Resources
  • Brand Advancement & Messaging
  • Competitive Excellence

"Rise Glorious serves as a very clear roadmap for accomplishing Tennessee Athletics' mission of leading the way in college sports," White said in a release. "This plan outlines why Tennessee Athletics exists and how we must approach each day in order to attain all of our specific goals for the next five years. It establishes standards we all must live by—staff, coaches, student-athletes, campus community and fans alike—as we restore Tennessee Athletics to the front of the pack."

The plan established seven core values: "academic success; inclusive preeminence; honesty and integrity; competitive excellence; holistic health and well-being; and the power of Vol Nation." 

"To inspire others to pursue greatness, it is imperative to outline a plan, provide details about the daily steps that must be taken by everyone and explain the commitment required to get there," women's basketball head coach and strategic plan steering committee member Kellie Harper said in a release. "It takes everyone working together, and it is so much easier to do that when people see and understand the vision, believe in the cause and are intentional about giving their all, collaboratively, toward building something special."

Lady Vols tennis player Kylie Duckworth, a 2021-22 co-president of Tennessee's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, participated in the strategic planning process on the Student-Athlete Success Committee.

"Being able to be involved in developing the strategic plan was a great honor and an opportunity to continue to leave a legacy at UT, even after I graduate," Duckworth said. "Knowing that our administration is seeking a cohesive and comprehensive plan to improve our programs—and knowing that they are actively seeking student-athlete feedback—makes me excited to be a VFL and see how Tennessee's athletic programs can continue to thrive."  

It also debuted the department's new vision statement: 

"Deliver an unparalleled student-athlete experience fueled by the relentless pursuit of comprehensive excellence; be bold and innovative in our approach to recruiting and developing well-rounded graduates, championship-driven competitors and world-changing leaders." 

"We are just scratching the surface of what we can accomplish here together," football head coach and steering committee member Josh Heupel said in a release. "The passion, competitiveness and camaraderie across the board in all sports is unmatched. It truly is a family. Our staff and student-athletes love going to events across all sports. We not only want to fulfill our goals in the overall mission of Tennessee Athletics, but we want to be a part of the environment at other venues as well. We are all encouraging each other to be the best, department-wide." 

Tennessee Athletics said all of the strategies and goals outlined in the "Rise Glorious" plan will be implemented with "a detailed action-step matrix" to track its progress and success.

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