White shares strategic plan for UT athletics

Published 5:17 pm Monday, July 11, 2022

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Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White on Thursday announced the completion and publication of a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for Tennessee Athletics.


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Titled Rise Glorious—an aspirational declarative originating from UT’s alma mater song—the living document is a result of months of deliberate and thoughtful study and collaboration by working committees comprised of Tennessee campus and athletics staff and alumni as well as active student-athlete representation.

“Rise Glorious serves as a very clear roadmap for accomplishing Tennessee Athletics’ mission of leading the way in college sports,” White said. “This plan outlines why Tennessee Athletics exists and how we must approach each day in order to attain all of our specific goals for the next five years. It establishes standards we all must live by—staff, coaches, student-athletes, campus community and fans alike—as we restore Tennessee Athletics to the front of the pack.”

White initiated Tennessee Athletics strategic planning process in the summer of 2021, establishing a steering committee, along with six sub-committees, each focused on the following areas and associated foundational priorities:

Mission, Vision and Core Values

Student-Athlete Success

We will maximize the transformative power of the student-athlete experience by leveraging the impact of sport to holistically develop our student-athletes and empowering each of them to succeed in educational and competitive endeavors while preparing them for life beyond athletics.


We will attract goal-driven and intensely competitive teammates to strengthen our family oriented, innovative and fearless culture, as Tennessee Athletics is a career destination.


We will aggressively build our resource base to empower our coaches and student-athletes to compete at the highest levels by engaging all stakeholders and capitalizing on the passion and power of Vol Nation.

Brand Advancement & Messaging

We will strengthen meaningful connections to the athletics program and modernize the way we tell the Volunteer story nationally and globally through the Power of the T.

Competitive Excellence

We will cultivate a championship culture that propels Tennessee to compete for SEC and national championships.

Rise Glorious also debuts Tennessee Athletics’ new vision statement: Deliver an unparalleled student-athlete experience fueled by the relentless pursuit of comprehensive excellence; be bold and innovative in our approach to recruiting and developing well-rounded graduates, championship-driven competitors and world-changing leaders.

Additionally, the plan establishes seven core values through which “Vols lead:” academic success; inclusive preeminence; honesty and integrity; competitive excellence; holistic health and well-being; and the power of Vol Nation.

“To inspire others to pursue greatness, it is imperative to outline a plan, provide details about the daily steps that must be taken by everyone and explain the commitment required to get there,” women’s basketball head coach and strategic plan steering committee member Kellie Harper said. “It takes everyone working together, and it is so much easier to do that when people see and understand the vision, believe in the cause and are intentional about giving their all, collaboratively, toward building something special.”

UT athletics has developed a strategic plan with the goal of becoming the best athletic department in the country. UT Athletics photo

Kylie Duckworth of the women’s tennis team — also a 2021-22 co-president of Tennessee’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee—was one of the student-athletes who participated in the strategic planning process, serving on the Student-Athlete Success Committee.

“Being able to be involved in developing the strategic plan was a great honor and an opportunity to continue to leave a legacy at UT, even after I graduate,” Duckworth said. “Knowing that our administration is seeking a cohesive and comprehensive plan to improve our programs—and knowing that they are actively seeking student-athlete feedback—makes me excited to be a VFL and see how Tennessee’s athletic programs can continue to thrive.”

All of the strategies and goals outlined within the Rise Glorious Strategic Plan will be implemented through a detailed action-step matrix. The matrix defines staff accountability, key measurements, resource requirements and the timeframe for completion. Tennessee Athletics will use the action-step matrix to track progress and overall success.

As Tennessee Athletics sets a course for leading the way in college sports over the next five years, it rides a wave of momentum generated by an extremely successful year in 2021-22, during which it claimed its first SEC Overall All-Sports Championship.

Four Tennessee teams captured five SEC titles this past year, and eight programs (four men’s and four women’s) finished in the top 16 or advanced to at least the round of 16 in their respective NCAA Championships.

The five SEC team championships were Tennessee’s most in a single academic year since 2010-11. And prior to this year, the last time at least four different sport programs won SEC titles in the same year was 2006-07 (five teams).

Tennessee posted its best finish in the LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup (13th) since 2006-07. Annual Directors’ Cup finishes are one of the measurement metrics identified in the Competitive Excellence section of the Rise Glorious Strategic Plan.

“We are just scratching the surface of what we can accomplish here together,” football head coach and steering committee member Josh Heupel said. “The passion, competitiveness and camaraderie across the board in all sports is unmatched. It truly is a family. Our staff and student-athletes love going to events across all sports. We not only want to fulfill our goals in the overall mission of Tennessee Athletics, but we want to be a part of the environment at other venues as well. We are all encouraging each other to be the best, department-wide.”

As Tennessee seeks to build on its championship tradition across all sports, the ongoing My All Campaign is fueling the pursuit of enhanced championship resources to support student-athletes’ academic and competitive pursuits.