SMU officially named Rick Hart as the new athletic director on Monday afternoon in front of numerous alums, students and athletes in the Gorman Mustang Auditorium.
Hart comes to SMU after serving a six-year stint as athletic director at Tennessee-Chattanooga. During his time there, he helped guide the Mocs to17 regular season and 22 tournament Southern Conference championships, more than any other SoCon school.
He also has experience working in the East Carolina, North Carolina and Oklahoma athletic departments. Hart will be replacing Steve Orsini, who was fired in May after six years on the Hilltop.
Here are a few highlights from today's introduction:
- SMU president R. Gerald Turner kicked off the event by stating that the first name submitted to him during the AD search was Rick Hart
- Turner added that he consulted two current commissioners and Hart headlined both lists
- There were about a dozen candidates but Turner said Hart was clearly the best
- Turner pointed to Hart's pedigree as a selling point considering both his father and grandfather have been athletic directors
- Hart expanded by saying being an AD is a way of life
- Hart thanked Turner and said the president was instrumental in his decision to come to SMU
- Hart stated that a few of his main focuses would be to continue the overall improvement of SMU athletics and the pursuit championships
- Retaining the best coaches is also in Hart's plan, which means June Jones may be at SMU longer than expected
- Hart promised to embrace Dallas and provide unbridled support for the community
- Clear communication and an invitation to get involved at SMU will be extended to all
- Hart said he wants to identify immediate needs but must learn more about SMU in order to for a better assessment
- He also said SMU needs to capitalize on a great home football schedule
- Hart believes there will be a sense of energy from the community to support SMU due to the transition to the Big East
- Hart stated that he sees no challenges moving from an FCS to an FBS school
- He ended the event by saying he can't wait to get started and pony up!
New man in charge at SMU
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