KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.)-- Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer recently promoted longtime UTAD staffer Dr. Michael R. Allen to the role of Assistant Athletics Director for Player Relations and Development.
Known as "Mikki," Allen was a four-year football letterman at UT and a member of the 1998 National Championship team. Allen has faithfully served his alma mater for more than a decade in various leadership capacities.
Allen now joins the UTAD Senior Staff and will oversee the department's comprehensive VFL programming initiatives. Highlighting those efforts is a comprehensive development assistance system for Tennessee football student-athletes that guides them from enrollment through their transition to post-football professional careers.
"We've already got outstanding support mechanisms in place that are comprehensive," Fulmer said. "Mikki's presence will ensure that the impact of our VFL support programming is maximized to benefit our student-athletes, setting a new standard for student-athlete development in the Southeastern Conference.
"Under Mikki's leadership, our student-athletes' time at Tennessee should serve as a launchpad that exposes them to countless growth opportunities and allows them to really take off and achieve success in life long after their collegiate careers conclude."
Allen also is responsible for managing VFL engagement and working with the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center. His collegiate athletic experience, entrepreneurial background, academic achievements and years of strategic planning and development as a director for the Tennessee Fund make him uniquely qualified for this role.
"Coach Fulmer has an extraordinary but attainable vision for our VFL programming efforts," Allen said. "It requires deliberate collaboration with campus and strategic networking with many external constituencies. We've always offered tremendous support—academic, mental health, sports medicine, internships, professional development personal branding—for our student-athletes. I'm excited to really tie everything together in a way that maximizes its impact on the young men in our program.
"My goal is to have a positive impact on our student-athletes that aids their transition into life after competitive football. Additionally, my No. 1 goal in this role is for Knoxville to always feel like 'home sweet home' to both current and former student-athletes, regardless of where they came from."
Allen will manage a comprehensive program that cultivates leadership while providing a designed platform that promotes professional development. The program will provide football student-athletes with networking opportunities with influential professionals in technology, sales and marketing, entrepreneurship, supply chain/logistics, music, management and other fields.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Allen joined the Tennessee Fund staff in 2009 and excelled during multiple record-breaking fundraising years. As Director of Athletics Development for Middle Tennessee in recent years, he built many meaningful relationships.
Prior to returning to Rocky Top in 2009, Allen co-founded and managed 29*34 Vintage Sportswear, an award-winning collegiately licensed apparel company with fellow VFL Steve Johnson. The upstart company, which employed only former UT student-athletes, enjoyed significant success, generated millions in revenue and received 2003 NCAA Collegiate Licensee Company of the Year acclaim.
Following his entrepreneurial endeavors, Allen returned to the University of Tennessee to pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Administration (2016) to supplement his master's degree in Sports Management and Administration (2007).
Allen's wife, Jekia, is an administrator with the Knox County School System. They have two children, Mikenzie Rae and Jansen Michael.