ETSU names Mullins A.D.

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY- The administration at East Tennessee State University has decided to hold serve when it comes to filling the Athletic Director's position.
   Former ETSU tennis coach, and for the last three months interim athletic director Dave Mullins was announced at a press conference on Monday that he will be the next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
   "When we first heard back in December that Todd Stansbury was leaving, we started looking around trying to find the very best interim leadership we could find, and it didn't take us longer than just a few hours to realize there's one individual already on our campus that had strong support from the internal campus community, including the coaches and the staff in the department of athletics," ETSU President Dr. Paul Stanton said.
   It didn't take long for Dr. Stanton to realize that ETSU already had the right guy to have the job permanently.
   "In the four months he has served as Interim Director, he has clearly proven he is up to the job," Dr. Stanton said. "Dave works hard, he listens, and he meticulously gathers information before making decisions."
   Mullins has been coaching tennis at the ETSU since 1987. Mullins coached both the men and the women until 1996, when he decided to just focus on the men.
   His teams won five Southern Conference Tournament crowns under his direction, but Mullins' biggest accomplishments might be with his players' performance in the classroom.
   In the fall of 2002, the men's tennis team had 3.9 G.P.A.
   Mullins now comes into this position with a lot of high hopes. He feels things are very good at East Tennessee State right now.
   "I think we've got a lot of good things in progress and in place," Mullins said. "I've spent the last three months really trying to start implementing a lot of plans that were made in the last year or two. We're in the middle of a lot of projects, I don't see any reason right now to change what we're doing. I think we've just got to find additional ways of implementing what we've been talking about."
   Probably Mullins' biggest decision in his years of being around sports will take place in the next couple of weeks with the hiring a new head basketball coach. The first candidate, Georgia Tech assistant Dean Keener, will be interviewed this afternoon.
   "We're going to try to bring in three this week, and then look into next week to see who we can make arrangements for," Mullins said. "We had an awful large number of candidates, but not everyone is suited for the job or not everyone is the right fit. We have narrowed it down to a half-dozen or so outstanding candidates. We're going to start with the first few and extend it into next week as we need to."
   With East Tennessee State in a budget crisis, there has been talk about the football program being abandoned. Mullins says he will be looking into the athletic funding very seriously in the next few months.
   "We're really looking at every part of our department, just as Dr. Stanton is looking at every department on campus," Mullins said. "We're having to evaluate what funds we have, how we can most effectively spend them, and where we can expect the greatest success in our program.
   "We're in the middle of the Master Plan of University evaluations. We're looking into all the sports programs. We have to look at football, we've looked at non-revenue, we've looked at where we are with Title 9. It's a pretty complex picture, so we're looking at everything."
   Mullins also hopes that school will improve on fundraising efforts.
   While men's tennis coach, Mullins raised money by promoting two community tennis tournaments during the year.
   Overall, Mullins is grateful for this opportunity.
   "I feel very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to serve as permanent Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at East Tennessee State," Mullins said. "The confidence of Dr. Stanton, my coaching colleagues, the department staff, my former players and many friends in the community means the world to me."