MARTIN, Tenn. – Phil Dane, who has served as the athletics director at the University of Tennessee at Martin since 2000, announced his retirement from the university effective Dec. 31, 2013 in a meeting with athletics staff and coaches this morning.
Dane previously served as the UT Martin Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance for 13 years before moving to the athletics department. Overall, he has served in numerous roles at the university since 1979.
UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes recognized Dane as a “tireless, experienced athletics director” who has moved the athletics program forward on many fronts.
“During his time as director of intercollegiate athletics, Phil, along with many excellent coaches and talented athletes, has guided many of our programs to higher competitive levels than ever before,” Rakes said. “Many of our athletic facilities have undergone upgrades that rival many within the Ohio Valley Conference and, of course, better support our student-athletes.”
Chancellor Rakes will announce details of the search process for a successor at a later date. Assistant athletics directors Richard Schoeberl and Danelle Fabianich will conduct the day-to-day activities of the athletics department following Dane’s retirement.
“I have come to this decision after much prayer and consideration for the best interests of Skyhawk athletics,” Dane said. “I have been blessed to work with a tremendous staff, inside and outside our department, to enhance the facilities at every venue where our student-athletes compete. Most importantly, I have tried to develop a culture of academic excellence, and our staff and students have embraced that culture by achieving unprecedented academic success.”
Dane has overseen numerous facility improvements, OVC championship teams and improved academic progress in his 13 years as UT Martin athletics director.
Dane administered facility upgrades for football, basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, softball and tennis facilities in his tenure. A significant portion of these improvements came from an increase in student fees after a proposal was submitted to the Student Government Association in 2007 and supported by 63 percent of the voting student body. Almost $2,000,000 in private funding was raised that funded a significant portion of the Bob Carroll Football Building, FieldTurf for the football stadium and the new Rhodes Golf Center.
Since Dane took over as director of athletics in 2000, the Skyhawks have produced 20 Ohio Valley Conference regular season or tournament championships. Seven different UT Martin sports programs have captured an OVC championship under the direction of Dane, five of which won their first-ever OVC championship. Dane’s tenure also includes the supervision of the highly successful non-OVC rodeo and equestrian programs. Individually, UT Martin has produced 16 All-Americans in Dane’s 13 years as Skyhawk director of athletics.
Nine of UT Martin’s 14 all-time OVC Scholar-Athletes (the OVC’s highest individual honor) have graduated during Dane’s tenure. Skyhawk athletics has set a new program record for OVC Medal of Honor (4.0 Grade Point Average) and Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipients (at least a 3.25 GPA) in three straight years under Dane, capped off with 116 UT Martin student-athletes (and 17 Medal of Honor recipients) earning OVC academic accolades in 2012-13. Overall, 1,077 Skyhawk student-athletes have tallied OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll status with 141 of those receiving an OVC Medal of Honor under Dane. The Skyhawk student-athletes have achieved at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA for three consecutive semesters.
An Air Force veteran, Dane was a three-year baseball letterman at Tennessee Tech before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1978. He earned his MBA from UT Martin in 1984.