CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Dr. Steven Angle announced Mark Wharton as the Mocs’ new Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics on Tuesday. A press conference introducing Wharton is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. (E.D.T.) in the Chattanooga Room in the University Center. Community members, fans and supporters are invited to the introduction with a reception to follow.
A 22-year veteran of college athletics, Wharton spent the last four years as the Associate Athletics Director for Development at Penn State University. There he was a member of the Nittany Lions’ Senior Management Team, overseeing all aspects of athletics development.
“I am extremely excited that Mark and his family are joining the Chattanooga community,” stated Dr. Angle. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences in collegiate athletics administration to our university, and his expertise in fundraising fits perfectly with the needs of our athletics program.”
During his tenure at Penn State, Wharton was a member of the Executive Committee for the Departmental Strategic Plan, the Facilities Master Plan Committee, Communications Committee and developed revenue generations plans for the Athletics Department leadership team.
“I would first like to thank Chancellor Angle and Search Committee Chair Dr. Debbie Ingram,” stated Wharton. “I am extremely honored and humbled to be your Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“UTC has a strong history of athletic success and high academic achievement in the classroom. I am excited to work with an outstanding group of coaches and administrators to ensure sustained excellence for all our student-athletes in the classroom, on their respective fields of play and in the community. My family and I cannot wait to call Chattanooga home.”
Wharton was the oversight of a staff of 23 professionals that catered to the 23,000-member Nittany Lion Club. He helped bring in $38 million in total cash and support at Penn State, including $17.35 million in annual fund donations.
He also served as the sport oversight for wrestling and men’s basketball. The wrestling program won three NCAA Championships during his tenure, while the men’s basketball team has had two top-30 recruiting classes in the last three seasons.
Similar to the Mocs, Penn State student-athletes posted a 3.11 GPA, with an 89-percent graduation success rate. All athletic programs at Penn State exceed the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) standards.
Prior to joining Penn State, Wharton was the Assistant Athletics Director/Executive Director of the East Carolina University (ECU) Educational Foundation (Pirate Club) from 2006-13. There he helped grow the Pirate Club into one of the strongest mid-major booster groups in the country, now totaling more than 17,000 members.
From 2004 to 2006, Wharton was the Associate Athletic Director for Development at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His implementation of a new annual giving campaign in 2004, entitled the “The Representative Program,” increased annual giving nearly 22 percent and resulted in a 15 percent climb in Rebel Athletic Fund donors.
Prior to his stint at UNLV, Wharton spent 13 years in full-time development, ticketing or marketing roles in upper administration positions at UNC Asheville (2003-04), James Madison (2000-03) and East Carolina (1996-00). He was also a front office member of the Kinston Indians Baseball Club from 1991 to 1994.
Wharton earned his bachelor’s degree in leisure studies from East Carolina in 1993. He also earned a master’s degree in human ecology with an emphasis in sport management from the University of Tennessee in 1995. He is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD).
Mark and his wife, Angela Riggins Wharton, have four children, Hannah, Taylor, Thomas and Allison.
What They Are Saying About Mark Wharton
“We are very excited for Mark and his family. Not only is UTC getting a great person, they are also getting a tireless worker who will represent the university well in the community.”
- James Franklin – Head Football Coach – Penn State University
“This is a major win for UTC. Mark is an excellent leader, and he has been a tremendous advocate for our program as far as fundraising and outreach. His commitment to building relationships with coaches, student-athletes and in the community will provide Chattanooga with benefits immediately, and well into the future.”
- Patrick Chambers – Head Men’s Basketball Coach – Penn State University
“I am excited for Chattanooga as Mark is going to be an outstanding leader for the Mocs and their community. His passion, drive and personality will instantly impact the coaches, students and staff.”
- Lonni Alameda – Head Softball Coach – Florida State University
“I truly enjoyed both getting to know and working with Mark Wharton at East Carolina and at James Madison. I know the coaches, players, administrators and alumni will enjoy working with this compassionate and dedicated servant leader. His commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience and creating an environment for success will have a positive influence immediately within the Chattanooga community. The Mocs have found an outstanding, passionate and visionary leader in Mark to lead them into the future. I wish him well in his new position.”
- Jen Hoover – Head Women’s Basketball Head Coach – Wake Forest University