University of Tennessee Band Director Placed on Leave After Public Disagreement with Athletic Department

University of Tennessee Band Director Gary Sousa has been relieved of all his duties and placed on paid administrative leave for the rest of the semester following a public disagreement with the university and athletic department regarding budgets and gameday stadium atmosphere.

From the Washington Post:

The university announced Monday that Gary Sousa had been relieved as director of the Pride of the Southland Band due to insubordination, a misrepresentation of facts and a lack of confidence in his ability “to work constructively and collaboratively with others going forward.” The move is pending a full review.

Don Ryder, a 14-year Tennessee employee, will serve as interim director the rest of the season.

This decision comes five days after Tennessee’s band issued a statement saying it was in a “bitter battle” with the school’s athletic department regarding the band’s travel and Neyland Stadium’s game-day atmosphere.

“You will not earn my support through threats, petulance, public disruption or whining,” Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a letter he wrote to Sousa on Monday. “You are a professional band director and a tenured faculty member; please act like it.”


The band released a statement, accusing the athletic department of slashing budgets and restricting their playing time. Click here to read the full statement, obtained by WBIR.

The university released its own statement in response on October 9th. The news broke of Sousa’s release on the 15th.

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