It appears as though East Tennessee State University has found a replacement for interim Athletic Director Dick Sander, and it’s Sander himself.
Sander is expected to have the “interim” tag removed sometime soon and become the permanent athletic director at the school for the second time, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Sander had originally joined ETSU as interim athletic director Jan. 15, 2013, replacing Dave Mullins. Five months later, Sander moved into the role on a permanent basis.
Sander retired in 2017 and was replaced by Scott Carter. When Carter was let go last August, Sander stepped in again on an interim basis.
Back in August, a day after taking over the athletic program for the second time, Sander said he and ETSU President Brian Noland would discuss the future of the position in January.
“We kind of agreed I’m going to be here until January,” Sander said during ETSU’s first football practice of preseason camp. “In January, we’ll sit down and kind of figure out where we’re going.”
Sander’s biggest contribution to ETSU was hiring head basketball coach Steve Forbes in 2015. Forbes went 130-43 in five seasons with the Bucs, never winning fewer than 24 games. His last team went 30-4 and set a school record for wins in a season. He is now the coach at Wake Forest.
During his second term as interim AD, Sander hired ETSU’s current women’s basketball coach, Brenda Mock Brown, and her team is off to a 14-6 start in her first season after going 6-22 last season.
Sander is a former basketball star at Chattanooga, where he also served as an assistant coach after graduation.
He was assistant athletic director at Memphis before taking a job to run the department at VCU in 1986.
In between his stints as ETSU’s athletic director, Sander served as an assistant to Noland as the director of ETSU’s Center for Global Sports Leadership.