By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee State Tigers now have a new Athletic Director. Dr. Mikki Allen was named Thursday to succeed Teresa Phillips by TSU President Glenda Glover during a virtual press conference with various administrators coaches, alumni and press representatives. Allen comes to TSU after 11 years in sports administration, including his most recent position as the assistant director of athletics for Player Relations and Development at the University of Tennessee. This program was designed to guide football student-athletes from enrollment through their transition to post-football professional careers.“With the retirement of AD Teresa Phillips after a stellar career here at TSU, it was essential that we find a leader that could build upon our recent successes, as well as our storied legacy of winning,” President Glover said. “I believe we have found that in Dr. Allen. He’s a successful leader who puts student-athletes first, builds strong relationships both internally and externally from his success as a fundraiser, and just as important, Allen is committed to the development of coaches and staff to achieve at a very high level. We are extremely excited about the future of TSU Athletics.”Allen, a four-year letterman and member of the UT 1999 National Championship Team, has strong ties to TSU, where he earned his master’s degree. His wife received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university as well.“I’m honored that President Glover has entrusted me to be the new Director of Athletics for Tennessee State University. To have the opportunity to be reconnected to our TSU family means everything to my wife, Jesus, and ME,” Allen said. “Tennessee State University is very special to my family’s legacy. This is about returning to an institution that I not only have a great passion for, but one that has been both impactful and transformative throughout my life. I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for the work that Teresa Phillips accomplished during her 16-year tenure. As the new Director of Athletics, I look forward to carrying the torch forward and elevating the sports programs at TSU to the top of the OVC pyramid.”
Allen’s biggest asset during his time at Tennessee involved his mastery of fund-raising. He was part of the staff from 2009-2020, serving principally as Director of Athletics Development. Over his tenure Allen helped Tennessee secure more than $20 million in capital campaign gifts.
Allen, who begins at TSU May 1, will head 15 programs. he received a strong recommendation from current UT AD. Phillip Fulmer called Allen a born leader and winner“Tennessee State is getting a man of great integrity and a born leader,” Fulmer said. “Mikki has made impactful contributions across several departments here at Tennessee over the years and has earned the respect from administrators and staff all throughout campus. The vast experience he’s gained has him well prepared to lead a department of his own. A former national championship student-athlete, he knows firsthand what a winning culture looks like. I know he’ll work tirelessly to build relationships and develop robust support systems to deliver a first-class student-athlete experience.”
Allen’s wife, Jekia, is a ’99 TSU graduate and currently is an elementary school Assistant Principal. The couple have two children, Mikenzie Rae (12) and Jansen Michael Allen (8). Allen, 42, is a native of Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro, TN), received his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2001, Master of Arts and Science degree in Sports Administration from Tennessee State University in 2007, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2016.