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Downtown Knoxville sunset photographed from the roof of Hotel Knoxville
Downtown Knoxville skyline at sunset photographed from the roof of Hotel Knoxville on October 13, 2019.

The doors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena are opening to a new director for the second time since its construction in 1987. Jason Pedone joins the arena leadership after serving as general manager of John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia.

Jason Pedone
Jason Pedone

Pedone, a Jefferson City, Tennessee native who graduated from UT in 1998, discovered sports and facilities management as an undergraduate student. That interest led to a more than 20-year career in venue and event management, including serving as director of event services for NRG Park in Houston, Texas, and event manager for Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

“Following an extensive search, I’m very pleased to have Jason join the University of Tennessee family as only the second director of Thompson-Boling Arena,” said Brian Browning, acting associate vice chancellor of campus operations. “His knowledge and expertise in the industry will ensure our facility continues to host a variety of events for Knoxville and surrounding communities for years to come.”

As director, Pedone will oversee the nation’s third-largest on-campus basketball arena, which hosts an average of 120 sporting and special events annually serving 800,000 to a million patrons.

“My family and I are very excited to return to Tennessee, which is my home and alma mater,” Pedone said. “There are great things ahead for UT and Thompson-Boling Arena specifically, and I look forward to being a part of that. As both a UT alumnus and venue professional, I appreciate Tim Reese and everything that has been accomplished under his direction.”

Environmental portrait of arena manager Tim Reese inside Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.
Environmental portrait of arena manager Tim Reese inside Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.

Retiring director Reese served as director of student activities for six years before Thompson-Boling Arena’s opening.

“Tim’s commitment and exemplary service of 39 years to the University of Tennessee as the first director of Thompson-Boling Arena helped establish the arena as one of the premier event venues in the country,” said Browning. “He embodies the true Volunteer spirit, and I am very appreciative of his vast contributions to our campus.”

In 2019, Reese shared the behind-the-scenes intricacies that go into managing the arena. Over his years serving the university, he said he’s been most proud of the dedicated staff that worked tirelessly to ensure that the facility was always ready for any event.

“Our transition to a new director indicates an exciting future,” Reese said. “Jason returns to the university after a successful career at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena. He is well respected in the industry and will maintain the excellence the university has come to expect at Thompson-Boling Arena. We could not be more delighted to have him as the new director.”​