The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga held a reception for outgoing Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Rick Hart at the Lindsay Street Hall today. Part of the festivities was a proclamation from Chattanooga and Hamilton County Mayors Ron Littlefield and Jim Coppinger declaring July 20, 2012, as 'Rick Hart Day' in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd was one of many speakers at the event that sang Hart's praises for the job he did at UTC over the last six years. Ladd read the following proclamation to the group of over 100 friends and family who attended the event.
|Whereas: Rick Hart has served the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as a Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics since 2006; and,
Whereas: in this role has guided, encouraged and supported UTC student-athletes in their quest for comprehensive excellence - Academically, Athletically and Socially. Above all else, he has prepared students for productive and meaningful lives; and
Whereas: led the Mocs to increase their overall grade-point-average in seven of his last eight semesters at UTC, including a school-record 2.97 in the spring of 2012; and
Whereas: led the Mocs to 17 Regular Season and 22 Southern Conference Tournament Championships over the last six years, far more than any other school in the league during that time; and
Whereas: helped fulfill part of the mission of UTC to be an engaged metropolitan university by setting an example for all student-athletes as a positive representative of the athletics program, the University and the Chattanooga community.
Rick Hart Day
UTC Senior Vice Chancellor Dr. Richard Brown spoke of the numerous accomplishments of Chattanooga athletics - academically, athletically and socially - under Hart's tenure. He told the group that the Mocs are certainly in better shape now than they were before Rick Hart came to campus.
It was announced on Monday, July 16, that Hart would be the next Director of Athletics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. As a result, many of his parting gifts were of the gag variety, focusing on the Lone Star State. He received a number of toy horses, in reference to SMU's Mustang mascot, along with a couple of cowboy hats and a brand new set of spurs.
When addressing the group at the end of the evening, Hart humbly told those in attendance that he was just a small part of the success at UTC over the last six years. "This is as uncomfortable as I have been in a long time," he stated. "I have gotten way too much credit today. I did not win a game, I did not go to a class, I did not recruit any student-athletes. But I did have a chance to work with a great staff and an outstanding group of coaches. Everyone in this room had just as much to do with our success over the last six years as I did, and I have no doubt that it will continue in the future."