Hart: Tennessee's brand remains strong

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Associated Press

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has a steep hill to climb before the Volunteers can fully recover from all their recent setbacks — on an off the field.

Athletic director Dave Hart knows it won't be an easy process.

The Vols have posted three straight losing seasons in football for the first time in a century, and Butch Jones will be Tennessee's fourth coach in a six-year stretch. Hart hired Jones last month after Louisville's Charlie Strong announced he'd turned down an offer from Tennessee.

Still, Hart doesn't believe the football program's recent struggles have tarnished Tennessee's brand.

He has a unique perspective on the gap separating Tennessee from the top of the Southeastern Conference. He arrived in 2011 after working at Alabama, which just won its third BCS title in four years.

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