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Tennessee announced early Thursday that athletic director Dave Hart will retire June 30, 2017.

 

Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek made the announcement yesterday. He too announced earlier in the summer that he's also stepping down in 2017.

 

Tennessee introduced Hart, 67, as its athletic director in September 2011, meaning he led the athletic department during a time when men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin left UT for California, in part, because Martin didn't feel like Hart publicly or privately supported him properly when fans launched a petition to fire Martin and replace him with former Vols coach Bruce Pearl. Hart subsequently hired Donnie Tyndall but had to fire him less than a year later because of an NCAA investigation that was launched at Southern Miss, where Tyndall had previously coached.

 

Hart's time at Tennessee also includes him firing football coach Derek Dooley and replacing him with Butch Jones, who is 10-14 in SEC games through three seasons. But the biggest stain is a federal Title IX lawsuit that claimed the university had a "hostile sexual environment" and violated laws in the way that it handled sexual violence cases, specifically cases involving student-athletes. Tennessee announced last month that it had settled the lawsuit for $2.48 million.

 

Hart was previously the AD at East Carolina and Florida State.

 

He worked at Alabama, his alma mater, before moving to Tennessee.

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