Joan Cronan knows exactly where to start.
A member of the University of Tennessee Athletics Department for 30 years and the director of women’s athletics for the majority of that time, she feels well prepared to serve as interim vice chancellor/director of athletics. She was named to the post Thursday, two days after the resignation of Mike Hamilton.
“My goal right now is to bring stability and bring a feeling of ‘We're going to be OK’ because we are going to be OK,” Cronan said. “I look around at other athletic departments. We're in pretty good shape when you talk about financially and competitively. I met with all of our head coaches [Thursday] and I told them, `You're all great and my job is to be sure you get to be as good as you can possibly be.’”
Cronan will serve in the role until a replacement for Hamilton is found. At that point, she will resume her duties as women's athletics and a member of the chancellor's cabinet and remain in those roles until June 30, 2012. After that, she will serve two years as senior adviser to the vice chancellor and chancellor.
Cronan has been director of women’s athletics since 1983-84. She also was the women’s basketball coach from 1968-70 before she left and spent 10 years at College of Charleston.
She will lead the effort to hire the next director of athletics.
“I think that there are so many different ingredients of an athletic director and there are so many different models,” Cronan said. “What I want to do is find the right person — he or she — for Tennessee that's going to take this program into the future. That's what I'm looking for is that opportunity for somebody to bring stability and go forward.
“We have the groundwork. We have the foundation. We just need to go forward.”