Jon Gilbert, Mike Ward Joining UT Athletics Senior Leadership Team

Friday, October 14, 2011 - by special report to chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee athletics department announced today that Jon Gilbert has been named executive senior associate athletics director and Mike Ward has been named senior associate athletic director for administration and sports programs. The announcement was made by Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart.

“We are excited about the addition of two outstanding administrators and people in Jon Gilbert and Mike Ward,” said Hart. “These hires represent the beginnings of the formation of our leadership team for Tennessee Athletics, many of whom are already in place, including David Blackburn and Chris Fuller.”

The start date at UT for both Gilbert and Ward is Monday, October 31.

Gilbert, who currently serves as the associate athletic director for external operations at the University of Alabama, will be responsible for the oversight of the daily comprehensive operations of the department of athletics. He will also assume direct responsibility for selected sports programs as assigned by Hart.

The 43-year-old Gilbert was a member of the executive leadership team that Hart developed and led at Alabama. Gilbert served in numerous capacities within the Alabama athletics department, including responsibility for external operations, athletics development, facilities and event management, the ticket office, and oversight of numerous sport programs.

Gilbert is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., where he was a three-year letterman on the football team. He also earned his master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University, where he served as a graduate assistant under legendary EKU football coach Roy Kidd. Gilbert has also spearheaded numerous community service initiatives during his career, including service as co-chairman of the University of Alabama United Way Campaign.

Gilbert and his wife, Katie, have two children, 12-year-old daughter Larsen and nine-year-old son Kent.

The 35-year-old Ward, who has served as the associate athletic director for compliance at the University of Alabama since 2008, will be the point of contact on all legal matters for the department and oversee the athletic compliance staff. Ward will be responsible for a significant focus on student-athlete initiatives while assuming oversight responsibility for selected sports programs as assigned by Hart. In addition, Ward will spearhead the evaluation, planning and development of strategic planning processes for Tennessee Athletics.

Ward, who has worked in intercollegiate athletics at Alabama, the University of Oklahoma and the NCAA, is a 1999 cum laude graduate of Alabama. Ward also earned his Juris Doctor degree from Alabama as well and worked for a private law firm in Dallas, Texas from 2002-03 before joining the NCAA as assistant director of enforcement in 2003.

A member of the athletic department’s executive leadership team at Alabama, Ward created and maintained a nationally recognized compliance program while assisting in the development and implementation of the department’s operating principles and procedures in all areas of athletics.

Ward and his wife, Beth, have two children, eight-year-old son Xander and seven-year-old daughter Avalyn.

(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)


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