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KNOXVILLE— A press conference will be held at 11:00 a.m. today to announce the resignation of University of Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton. The press conference will be held at Stokely Family Media Center in Neyland Stadium.

Hamilton announced his resignation effective June 30, 2011. Hamilton has served as athletic director for eight years, and he has worked in the athletics department for 19 years.

“My family and I love the University of Tennessee, and we love Knoxville. We have poured out our lives over the last 19 years to try to make this a better community, a better athletic program and a better university,” Hamilton said. “We will forever cherish our time here and be eternally grateful to Doug Dickey for taking a chance on a young, 28-year-old in 1992. Serving as athletic director over the last eight years has been an incredible daily leadership lesson and a dream come true that I would never trade for anything. I appreciate everyone who has walked along that path with me. We have, without a doubt, the best staff, coaches, student-athletes, and fans in America.”

In accepting Hamilton’s resignation, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek praised his dedication and his service to UT.

“The University of Tennessee’s athletic programs have experienced great success under Mike Hamilton’s leadership. Mike has led our teams to success on and off the field.

“Mike is a man of high integrity and deep faith. His contributions to our campus and its faculty, staff, and students will live on for many decades, especially his positive influence on our student-athletes,” Cheek said. “We will miss him.”

Cheek added that Hamilton also was committed to giving back to academics on the campus; UT’s athletics department is one of only fourteen that is self-sustaining, and it gives $10 million a year back to the campus.

The University of Tennessee’s men’s basketball team made it to the Elite Eight in 2010 and, in 2008, won the SEC Championship. The men’s tennis team played for a national championship, and there are many other wins too numerous to list.

Fundraising has more than doubled during Hamilton’s tenure as athletic director, and he has helped transform the campus through capital projects. The Neyland Stadium Master Plan is 60-percent complete, and the renovated stadium is a tribute to his hard work.

“Mike Hamilton is an outstanding individual with many exceptional accomplishments for the University of Tennessee,” UT President Joe DiPietro said. “I respect and support his decision and express my appreciation for the character, integrity, loyalty, and good work that mark his 19-year career at Tennessee.”

In addition to his accomplishments on campus, Hamilton has been involved in the community, including his service as chairman of the Knoxville Chamber Partnership and chair of the 2010 United Way campaign. He has also worked tirelessly, alongside his wife, Beth, to raise money and support for children’s issues, clean water in Africa, and help for those less fortunate.

A separation agreement between Hamilton and the university has been signed, and he will receive $1,335,000 over the next thirty-six months.

A national search for a new athletic director will begin immediately, and a search firm will be engaged to assist with the process.

“We hope to have someone in place before the football season begins,” Cheek said. “However, it is important to get the right person, and we will not rush the search to meet this timeline.”

An interim athletic director will be named before the end of the week. Hamilton will remain a part of the group representing the University of Tennessee at the school’s appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on June 11.