Tennessee AD says he lost confidence in ex-media director

Tennessee AD says he lost confidence in ex-media director

Debby Jennings (source: utladyvols.com) Debby Jennings (source: utladyvols.com)

KNOXVILLE (WATE/AP) - Tennessee's athletic director Dave Hart is defending his move forcing Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings to retire, saying he wants to "set the record straight" in response to her retaining an attorney and threatening a lawsuit.

Hart issued a statement Thursday, a day after a letter from Jennings' attorney became public through a records' request. It noted that Jennings was given a choice to be fired, resign or retire on May 15.

The athletic director says: 

"Although I do not normally comment on personnel decisions, given the nature and volume of inaccurate information that has been disseminated from those around Debby Jennings, I believe it is necessary to set the record straight. I lost confidence that her employment was in the best interests of the athletics department. Specifically, I concluded that she was insubordinate, disrespectful and fostered an atmosphere of negativity and division.

"Based on her years of service, she was eligible for full retirement from the university, including medical benefits. I gave her the opportunity to retire instead of being terminated, and she chose that option. I will have no additional comment at this time, and I wish Debby well in her future endeavors."

Jennings' attorney says she wants to resolve the issue amicably, but might sue for gender and age discrimination.

Portions of this report copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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