When Rick Hart came to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he brought with him a vision and plan for the future of the Mocs. Over the last six years, Hart has changed the landscape of the UTC Athletics Department with his leadership, organizational skills and innovative ideas on how to fulfill the Mocs' mission of preparing students for productive and meaningful lives. Since his hiring on May 23, 2006, Hart's efforts have made a tremendous impact on the Mocs student-athletes' quest for comprehensive excellence - academically, athletically and socially.
- Shown continuous improvement in the overall grade-point-averages for student-athletes in seven of the eight semesters - highlighted by a 2.97 g.p.a. in the spring of 2012, tying the highest semester mark on record.
- Over half of the Mocs' student-athletes made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll each of the last six semesters.
- Developed and implemented an ambitious APR improvement plan that has increased the APR scores of all Mocs athletics programs.
- Expanded the Compliance and Academic Services departments to help student-athletes progress toward the ultimate goal of earning a college degree.
- Captured 17 regular season and 22 tournament championships in the Southern Conference over the last six seasons, more than any other SoCon school.
- In 2008-09, Chattanooga posted school records with five teams competing in the NCAA Championships and 10 squads represented in the postseason.
- Set a school record in 2009 with a 99th place finish in the NACDA Learfield Director's Cup that measures the overall success of all Division I athletic programs. Three of the Mocs' top-5 all-time finishes in the NACDA Director's Cup have come in Hart's tenure.
- Captured UTC's first Germann Cup in 2007-08, signifying the best all-around women's sports program in the Southern Conference.
- Focused attention on strengthening the relationship between Mocs Athletics and the UTC community.
- Cultivated and maintained relationships with local and national press that has led to unequalled media attention for a program of this size.
- Expanded educational programming for student-athletes, coaches and staff as part of a commitment to learning and personal and professional development.
Hart has also been very successful in the traditional roles as UTC Athletics Director. In an effort to ensure efficient and effective management of all elements of the athletics program, and to better align athletics with the academic mission of the institution, Hart developed and installed the Strategic Plan for UTC Athletics. A focus on the student-athlete experience has resulted in increased ticket sales and fundraising, innovative partnerships, improved athletics facilities and the addition of quality coaches.
Managing finite resources in collegiate athletics is widely known as a difficult task. Hart made fiscal stewardship a priority for the department since his arrival. With diligent leadership and a commitment from each and every member of the department, UTC Athletics has made significant strides towards reducing the financial burden on the institution and adherence to university allocated budgets.
Currently, Hart serves as a member of the NCAA Division I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet, the FSC Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee and the NACDA Executive Committee. He is active in the community is a sought-after speaker among the area's many civic organizations. In addition to his selection as the Grand Marshal of the 2007 Region 4 Special Olympics, Hart has been appointed to the Board of Directors with the March of Dimes - River Valley Division, the Greater Chattanooga Sports and Events Committee and the Finley Stadium Corporation. He is also a member of the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga Leadership Club.
Hart arrived on the UTC campus after serving seven years at the University of Oklahoma in various athletics administrative capacities. Hart's career with the Sooners began in 1999 as the Director of Marketing and Licensing. He became Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Licensing in 2001, and developed and implemented marketing campaigns which generated annual ticket revenues in excess of $19.5 million. Hart was promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Program Advancement and Branding in 2003 and Senior Associate Athletics Director in 2006.
Hart has also worked in athletics for the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University and has served with the U.S. Olympic Committee. A 1994 graduate of UNC, Hart earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education, Health and Sport Science. Hart and his wife, Allison, also a graduate of North Carolina, are proud parents of Trevor and Caroline.
A third-generation athletics administrator, Hart's father, Dave, currently serves as Executive Director of Athletics at the University of Alabama, and his late grandfather, Dave Sr., served in a variety of roles within collegiate athletics including a stint as the Commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1987-91.
Updated July 2012.