Johnson City

ETSU Athletes: Mullins grew programs, but looking forward to change

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - After a decade under Dave Mullins's leadership, there's now an uncertainty of what exactly the future holds for ETSU sports.

News 5 talked to student athletes to find out what they think about Mullins's decision to retire and take on a new role at ETSU, working alongside ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland to help grow athletics financially.

On the field and in the dome, Dave Mullins has been the backbone of ETSU athletics for the past 10 years.

But in June, Mullins officially retires his tenure as athletic director.

"I think over the last year-and-a-half or so, I've tried to sort of assess things and reassess things and decide what I want to do in the future," Mullins said in a Monday afternoon press conference.

For athletes like Nate Hodges, this decision comes with mixed feelings. He said Mullins indirectly helped bring him to ETSU, as the soccer program began under Mullins's direction.

"Dave Mullins has had a huge role in building that, and our field, and everything out there, and bringing players in to experience Johnson City and the ETSU family," Hodges, a Junior soccer player, told News 5.

Senior softball catcher, Whitley Hensley told us her team has also grown over the past few years.

"We have a new field, an amazing new field, that's nicer than most in our conference," Hensley said.

Mullins will now work with ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland to financially grow the program, but its day-to-day operations will be going to a new athletic director.

Athletes told us with this change comes new opportunity.

"Change is always good. You can't be sad or anything. Dave Mullins, you can't replace him, but at the same time, there [are] so many people that do a good job [in the athletic department] that it's not a problem," Hodges told us.

"We've grown so much, even in the three years that I've been here, and we're hoping that maybe we'll get to add football, maybe we'll have an athletic director who's every excited about that," said Hensley.

For everyone involved, it's pride for the blue and gold that make its future a top priority.

"The future is bright, and I look forward to being a part of our future success in my new role," said Mullins.

Mullins said in the press conference he will likely be involved in continuing to explore the idea of an ETSU football team in his new position as part of the 125 vision; especially since that would mean more funding and facilities, which he said, is a major focus of his new role.

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