About Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is an urban, land grant institution with a proud history and designation as a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and an R2 research university.  Originally founded in 1912, after its organization in 1909 as the Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School, its beautiful main campus sits on 500 acres just 10 minutes northwest of downtown. Complementing the main campus is a newly renovated downtown campus within easy walking distance of the central business and government district that also features a simulated stock-trading center, a student computer laboratory and continuing education, distance learning and multimedia services.  Located in the heart of government, banking, insurance, publishing, healthcare, transportation, art, culture, and education, Tennessee State fosters a progressive and inclusive environment of learning to its 7,000+ enrolled students, representing over a combined 90 states and countries.  

Nashville itself is booming and has truly become one of the top cities in the United States.  Nicknamed the “Music City”, Nashville business leaders point to a unique mix of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that has not only lead to the creation of incredible music, but also to a surge of economic success in recent years.  It currently ranks in the top 5 US metro areas with the largest job growth, and metro Nashville has grown from 1.3 to nearly 2 million residents over the past 2 decades.  Well within driving distance to cities such as Memphis, Knoxville, Atlanta, Louisville and St. Louis, Nashville’s location helps Tennessee State University recruit the best and brightest students, faculty and staff. 

Tennessee State University offers 38 undergraduate, 24 graduate, 2 associate and 7 doctoral programs in a variety of diverse and robust disciplines. The University graduates the highest number of African American bachelor degree holders in agriculture, agriculture operations, and agriculture-related sciences, in addition to being designated as a “high research” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

As a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Tennessee State University Athletic Department’s mission is to blend physical, emotional and intellectual development into one experience. Tennessee State does not only want to build winning teams, but leaders in the classroom, in the community and in one’s profession of choice. Sponsoring 13 NCAA, Division I athletic programs, Tennessee State aspires to perform at the highest level of competition, becoming a nationally recognized program through graduating academically superior student-athletes and future leaders. Tennessee State strives to become the leagues consistent representative in NCAA Post Season Tournaments, while becoming the leading marketing tool for the University through innovative, creative, and visible programs.

Mission Statement

As Tennessee State University continues to strive for excellence in programming, offerings, and community engagement, their commitment to its students’ futures is what drives its mission today. As an HBCU, TSU fosters scholarly inquiry and research, lifelong learning, and a commitment to service.

Building on its heritage of strong instruction and solid research, Tennessee State prepares its students for leadership, professional success, personal achievement, and service to local, national, and international communities in a global society.

At Tennessee State University, each student is the focus of its motto—Think. Work. Serve.—and the beneficiary of its core values:

  • Excellence
  • Learning
  • Accountability
  • Integrity
  • Shared governance
  • Diversity
  • Service

Position Summary

The Director of Athletics is responsible for the overall leadership and administration of the intercollegiate athletic program in accordance with governmental, university, conference, and NCAA policies, rules and regulations. Additionally, the Director oversees the department budget, supervises and evaluates personnel, generate funding, and communicates effectively with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public in order to foster a high quality Division I athletics program that reflects the mission of the University.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Strengthen all sports to be competitive at the championship level while ensuring an exceptional overall experience for each student-athlete.
  • Recruit, mentor, support, and supervise a diverse pool of strong, ethical, and talented coaches to foster success.
  • Organize and supervise the entire Athletics staff and delegate specific responsibilities to ensure the efficient and productive operation of all administrative and operational business functions of the department.
  • Ensure that the department operates in a manner that values diversity, equity, inclusion and well-being for student-athletes, coaches, and staff.
  • Support the University’s educational philosophy and the Department of Athletics as a loyal, energetic, and highly visible University representative.
  • Ensure the department operates within the mission of the University and in compliance with NCAA, Conference, and University rules and guidelines.
  • Provide strategic leadership toward goals related to competitiveness, student academic achievement, student-athlete experience, compliance, financial management, and event attendance that reflect the mission and values of the University as a whole.
  • Supervise the recruitment of quality student-athletes commensurate with the University’s goals and standards, Title IX and NCAA regulations, and to successfully compete at the Division I level.
  • Participate actively in professional organizations, authorized by the President, through attendance at conferences, clinics, and conventions as needed for an understanding of current developments within all areas of responsibility.
  • Develop and administer all athletic budgets. 
  • Work with the TSU Foundation, President, and other individuals to develop fundraising strategies with team goals and oversee a fundraising plan for Athletics to achieve annual goals
  • Develop corporate sponsorship opportunities that enhance Tennessee Stats University’s brand and presence in the market.
  • Increase attendance at all sports and generate overall enthusiasm and excitement for Athletics across campus (among students, faculty and staff) and in the community (including donors and alumni).
  • Collaborate with other units on campus, including, but not limited to, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the General Counsel’s office, on campus on various university/athletic related matters to enhance relationships between Athletics and other departments on campus.
  • Participate in planning, communication, and collaboration with the President as a member of the President’s Cabinet/Senior Leadership Team to ensure alignment between the goals of the Athletic Department with the University’s mission and goals.
  • Perform related departmental duties as required.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in collegiate athletic administration or other equivalent work experience
  • Demonstrated skill and expertise in supervision, fund raising, public relations, athletic promotions, budgeting, planning, and fiscal management
  • Established record of administrative excellence within the management of an NCAA sponsored athletics program to inspire and guide the Tennessee State University Athletic Department to a high level of excellence
  • Commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equity
  • Strong knowledge of or demonstrated ability to quickly learn and master applicable policies, rules and regulations, including those of the NCAA and Title IX
  • Understanding of and commitment to the mission of Tennessee State University
  • Demonstrated record of adherence to and compliance with applicable laws, policies, rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, NCAA rules, OVC rules, Title IX regulations, and university policies
  • Ability and desire to successfully grow the current program on all levels, especially reputation and functioning, to take Tennessee State University to its next stage of excellence
  • Lead with the highest ethical and moral standards.

Application Process

Tennessee State University invites letters of nomination, applications, or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the university.  Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted at Parker Executive Search’s website by February 12, 2020. For additional information please contact:

Daniel Parker, Vice President and Managing Director
Hayden Garrett, Principal
DeLaina Sarden, Research Associate

hgarrett@parkersearch.com | dsarden@parkersearch.com
Parker Executive Search
770-804-1996 ext. 119

Tennessee State University complies with TITLE IX and is an affirmative action employer. Candidates will be considered for employment without discrimination for any on-merit reason such as race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, handicap or veterans status.

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