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David Blackburn
Position: Vice Chancellor & Director of Athletics
Alma Mater: Tennessee
Graduating Year: 1990
Experience: 1 Year
Phone: 423-425-4444
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Blackburn Photos

It is hard to imagine a busier or more productive first year on the job than the one David Blackburn had as the Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Hired on April 20, 2013, Blackburn inherited a unique situation that included head coaching vacancies in two of the Mocs most high-profile positions. 

He had to move quickly to find both a men’s and women’s basketball head coach while also adjusting to a new role as the leader of the Chattanooga athletics program.  After an introductory press conference on April 23, he got right to work on both searches.    

By all accounts, he nailed each hire as both teams advanced to the postseason under new leadership.  Will Wade guided the men to a surprising 18-15 record, while becoming the first Moc to grab Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors since 1992.  Hall of Famer Jim Foster kept the women’s program at the top of the league, tying a school record with a 29-4 overall mark.  The Mocs won their 18th SoCon title and advanced to their 12th NCAA Tournament. 

There was plenty of excitement across the board in Blackburn’s first year at UTC.  The football team won its first SoCon title in 30 years, while a total of nine programs represented the Mocs in the postseason.  Chattanooga won seven SoCon titles in five sports, had four All-Americans, six SoCon Players of the Year, three SoCon Tournament MVPs, seven SoCon individual champions and three SoCon Coaches of the Year.  UTC also had its second-best showing in the final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings, leading the SoCon at 120th among all NCAA Division I programs. 

Blackburn instilled a new mission that focused on equipping student-athletes, coaches and staff for success that accompanied a vision of achieving excellence.  It was clear that both messages were received in competition, and that high level of performance was also evident in the classroom and in the community.

UTC student-athletes set school records for semester grade-point-averages in the fall and spring terms.  The Mocs topped a 3.0 for the first time in the 2014 spring semester, posting a 3.07 cumulative g.p.a.  UTC had record numbers of student-athletes on the Academic All-SoCon teams, while the men’s cross country team had the highest g.p.a. in the nation.

The Chattanooga community also took note of what was happening at UTC.  The Mocs led the SoCon in attendance in men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling, while averaging nearly 10,000 fans per home football game.  The Southern Scuffle also grew into the top in-season wrestling tournament in the nation. 

All of this success came as no surprise, based on the experiences and expertise Blackburn brought to the position.  He spent the previous two decades in a number of administrative roles at the University of Tennessee.  He most recently served as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration where he was member of the Volunteers’ executive staff.

He began his career at Tennessee in 1993 working with then-head football coach Phillip Fulmer, serving in a variety of roles within the program.  He held his most recent position since 2008 as direct oversight of Vols football and its senior-level administrator.

At Tennessee, Blackburn served as the athletic department liaison to the Thornton Center, the student-athlete academic support unit.  He was appointed to participate in various search committees for head coaches and upper level departmental staff.  He also participated in the design and construction of Tennessee’s $48 million football training center.

In August of 2003, Blackburn made a transition into fundraising and became the Assistant Athletic Director for Development. During his tenure working in fundraising, the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund saw record growth in all areas. Most noted were total athletic gifts more than doubling from $19.5 million in 2003 to over $41 million in 2007. Also, he helped secure an $84 million multi-media rights contract with Host Communications.

In 2007, Blackburn was promoted to Associate Athletic Director for Administration where he broadened his scope of athletic department management, serving on then-Athletic Director Mike Hamilton’s senior management team.  That appointment included oversight of the track and field program, the swimming and diving teams, facility operations, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, equipment operations and event management.

A native of Loudon, Tenn., Blackburn is married to the former Andrea Radel of Albion, Mich. They have two daughters, Emma and Charlee.  He is a 1990 graduate of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Education.

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