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Ex-Tennessee media director sues school, athletic director

Dave Hart Tennessee

A former media director at the University of Tennessee is suing the school and the school’s athletic director after her retirement from her position this spring.

Debby Jennings, who served for 35 years in the Tennessee athletic department as the Lady Vols’ media director, alleges “unlawful discrimination and retaliation” in a suit filed Thursday.

According to an account by the Associated Press, Jennings says athletic director Dave Hart “and other athletic officials wanted to remodel the athletic department as a “good ol’ boys” club while replacing her with a younger man.”

At the time of her departure from the school, Jennings was 57 years old.

The Tennessee women’s basketball team has been in the news in recent months because of the retirement of longtime coach Pat Summitt, who is also mentioned in the filing.


The suit alleges that Hart told former women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt in March, the day before the team traveled to Chicago to begin the NCAA tournament, that she would not be coaching the team during the 2012-13 season, and that he planned to name Holly Warlick to replace college basketball’s all-time winningest coach.

The suit says that when Summitt told Jennings about the conversation with Hart that Summitt was “very upset and extremely hurt.” It also says that Summitt told her secretary, personal administrative assistant and a Lady Vols assistant coach.

To read the entire report, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_