KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam are part of a search committee helping Tennessee in its search for an athletic director.
Tennessee announced Friday that it has hired the Turnkey Sports and Entertainment search firm to assist the school as it seeks a replacement for Dave Hart, who said in August he would be stepping down
School officials also announced that incoming chancellor Beverly Davenport has assembled a separate search committee to assist her in the hiring process. The committee is chaired by Board of Trustees vice chair Raja Jubran and also includes Manning, Haslam, Board of Trustees member Charlie Anderson, senior associate athletic director Donna Thomas and business professor Donald Bruce.
Davenport takes over as Tennessee's chancellor on Feb. 15.
Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, starred at Tennessee from 1994-97 and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up his senior year. Haslam, part of a family of major Tennessee boosters, is the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the son of former Tennessee player Jim Haslam.
Officials said Turnkey could start seeking applications and interviewing potential candidates as early as next week. Davenport said in a statement that ''with Turnkey's help, we will conduct a thorough, nationwide search that is open to all candidates to ensure we will yield the best candidates for the job.''
Manning played at Tennessee during Phillip Fulmer's coaching tenure. Fulmer's name has come up as a potential candidate for the athletic director position, and he has expressed interest in the job.
Hart's retirement is officially effective June 30. But the terms of his contract allow Tennessee to hire a replacement before that date and put Hart on paid administrative leave as long as he receives 15 days written notice.