Quotes from the David Blackburn Introductory Reception
University Center – Chattanooga Room
Tuesday - April 23, 2013
UTC Chancellor-Elect Dr. Steve Angle
“This is a really special occasion for the campus. There are a lot of people responsible for getting us to this place. I want to thank Interim Chancellor Grady Bogue, who has been my partner in this process of decision making. The campus has been so lucky to have him here. The search committee, chaired by Dr. Debbie Ingram, did a great job with this process. We really are indebted to all of the committee for this decision.
“The pool that was attracted for this job was just incredible. This is a very desirable job. Dr. Bogue and I also want to thank the advisory group of community and alumni who love this campus and our athletic program. We want to thank them for their commitment to the Mocs athletics program. It is very much appreciated and we will continue to draw on them in the future.
“I want to thank Laura Herron, who served this campus exceptionally well as the interim athletic director. I have been an interim and it can be a thankless job. Laura is so dedicated to the athletics program at this university and she did just a phenomenal job.
“This athletic director search has garnered a lot of attention and, indeed, it should. The athletic department really is the front door to our campus and it is one that we want to have wide open. We have a strong heritage and foundation of success. It is success that we want to build on.
“As we went through the process, David Blackburn emerged as the hands-down hire. His standards, ethics, personality, background and fit with our campus makes him the total package. We are so delighted to have him here with 22 years of experience with University of Tennessee, extensive fund raising experience and his strong commitment to student-athlete success.”
UTC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn
“It is really humbling to see so many people come out and show so much pride and care for a proud city and school. I am touched by that. It means a lot for me to be here, and I hope everyone knows and feels that. It’s a special day, not just for me, but hopefully for everyone here and my family. I am certainly glad they are with me and they are going to be a big part of our team.
“A special thanks to Chancellor Steve Angle. I’ve had the chance to spend some real quality time with him and we hit it off immediately. Interim Chancellor Grady Bogue has meant so much and has held things in good stand. The search committee was tremendous. The advisory committee, the students and staff have all been great. The search was very extensive and thorough, and everyone should feel good about that. They put the candidates through the ringer and that was good. That’s what you want when you have an important decision to make and they did an outstanding job. So I owe a special thanks to them and especially my family through all of that.
“To be entrusted with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics program is a great honor, and with that comes great accountability. I want everyone to know I understand accountability. I hold that dear and I take that very seriously. That entrusting is precious because there are going to be a lot of people coming through here that I will get to know a lot better as time goes on. To entrust someone to lead a department that is an important part of campus is something I want you to know that I will take very seriously. I will hold it to the highest regard and I want you to hold me to that accountability.
“People make a place. When I was here visiting a couple of weeks ago, I saw the look in peoples’ eyes as I met with them, and it was one of positivity and energy. There’s no utopia anywhere on earth, but when you are around people you can tell that they care about a place. You can tell they have great pride in what they do and see that they are positive and open to hearing what you and others have to say. I felt that and that means more than anything to me because people are the core of what we are going to be about.
“I want to personally thank Laura Herron for helping for this process and transition in such a short period of time, and for what she has done for this school, city and certainly the athletics department. It is hard to do what she has been asked to do, and to selflessly do that takes a special person. From a distance, I could see that and now that I am here I can see why she has been successful. I am going to lean heavily, as I should, on Laura.
“We will begin work immediately on building winners. That is a word I love that a lot of people shy away from, but I want you all to know that. I believe in building winners, and I am not talking about 20-19 on the scoreboard, necessarily. I am talking about winners in how you behave, treat people and how you go to school. Do you go to school? Are you getting up and going to class? How do you act in a social setting when you are with others and how do you act when you are competing? I want to be competitive. I am never going to shy away from that and I want everyone to know that. I think we should show up and compete every day. Life is about competing. We have a lot of different arenas when we compete but it is about competing and being a winner in that competition. That’s not just on the scoreboard by also in how you behave, treat others and how you grow as people. We are going to work toward that immediately.
“I will start immediately with building relationships. That is the foundation of it all. People make a place. I have to grow internally, know and listen to people. I am going to be all ears. I do not want to talk. I want to listen and I want to know about the strengths, weaknesses and what has happened. I want to get to know everyone, but you can’t do that all in one day. Overtime, you can look up and those things have grown. That’s why I want that to start because that’s how I want us to grow. I think that is the greatest growth we have is in that area because that transcends into building things, growing resources and advancing the program forward.
“I will do an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses. I can already tell that there are a lot more strengths than weaknesses, but there will be some weaknesses that we need to address. I want you to know I will have the courage to address those in a very professional manner. We will work daily toward a relentless pursuit of continual improvement. I think you are either getting worse or you are getting better. Never are you just staying the same. If you’re not doing something to get better, you are getting worse. That is in every facet of our life. It’s not just in athletics. It is in everything that we do. We will work, and I want to make that a landmark, so that we are a continuous work of improvement.”