Joan Cronan Hired as Women’s Athletic Director
Taking over as women’s athletics director in 1983, Joan Cronan was already a familiar figure at UT. While she was Lady Vols basketball head coach from 1968 to 1970, Cronan led the team to an alternate berth in the first-ever women’s National Invitational Collegiate Basketball Tournament in 1969. As athletics director, Cronan gradually expanded the program from seven to 11 sports and helped increase annual giving to support women’s athletics from $75,000 to more than $2 million per year. During Cronan’s tenure, the Lady Vols became one of the most visible and well-respected programs in the country, amassing 10 NCAA national championship titles, 46 top five NCAA finishes, and 29 Southeastern Conference regular-season championships. After UT hired Dave Hart as its new athletic director in 2011, the men’s and women’s athletic departments merged into one. Cronan continued her service during the first half of 2012, then became a senior advisor to Hart and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek before her retirement. She now serves as women’s athletic director emeritus.