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UT intends to award a contract to Turnkey Sports and Entertainment to assist Chancellor-Elect Beverly Davenport in the search for the university’s next director of athletics.

The intent to award follows a competitive bid process, which began in December. The company was selected based on its extensive experience selecting and hiring the highest-caliber leaders exclusively in the sports arena, according to Davenport.

“I am confident with Turnkey’s help, we will identify and hire the best person for the job,” Davenport said.

“I’m looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field. I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs.”

Davenport has assembled a search committee to advise her throughout the hiring process. Members of that committee are Peyton Manning, alumnus and retired NFL quarterback who has recently been named to the National Football Hall of Fame; Donna Thomas, senior associate athletics director; Charlie Anderson, alumnus and UT trustee; Jimmy Haslam, alumnus and CEO of Pilot Flying J and owner of the Cleveland Browns; and Professor Donald Bruce, UT’s faculty representative for the SEC and the NCAA. Davenport has asked Raja Jabrun, alumnus and vice chair of the UT Board of Trustees to chair the search committee for her.

Turnkey will begin seeking applications, interviewing, and vetting potential candidates as soon as their purchase order is finalized, which is expected to be as early as next week.

“The outpouring of interest in the new AD is just as I expected. This is the premier AD job in the country, and the passion of Big Orange Country is second to none,” Davenport said. “I appreciate all of the support and words of encouragement I have received. 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.”

Davenport’s full-time appointment as the new chancellor begins February 15.