Why doesn't Tennessee offer its athletic director's job to Florida AD Jeremy Foley?
Obvious answer: Because Foley wouldn't accept.
So what? LSU AD Joe Alleva didn't accept, either, according to his statement Tuesday night.
Normally, I would consider potential turndowns as a deterrent in a job search. But these aren't normal times.
After all that has gone wrong with UT athletics in the last year, a mere rejection shouldn't put a dent in anyone's self-esteem. In fact, if it comes from a highly reputable source, it almost serves as a compliment to a program that has fired its basketball and baseball coaches and seen its athletic director resign under not-so-glorious circumstances in the last four months.
So why not start at the top, which is where most folks place Foley when they're ranking college administrators?
Alleva can't match Foley's resume. But UT's pursuit of him at least shows that it's willing to revise its game plan.
UT has a history of bargain shopping. It hires up-and-comers.
Now, it's elevating its search to the BCS level. Not only is Alleva an SEC athletic director, he's an SEC athletic director with a better football program.
The Alleva hunt was an upgrade over the Dan Radakovich rumor. The speculation that UT might hire the Georgia Tech athletic director peaked about the time the NCAA announced sanctions against the school as well as Radakovich's non-exemplary performance in response to violations.
The Vols are about to have their football and basketball programs on NCAA probation. If they had hired an athletic director with a less than glowing recommendation from the NCAA, it would have made some of Hamilton's decisions look almost shrewd. It also would have incurred the wrath of anyone in the local media who would have had to spell or pronounce "Radakovich" on a regular basis.
That doesn't mean the Vols should be mourning the loss of Alleva. While it might have looked good to lure away the head of another well-endowed athletic program, it's not as though they lost out on a top-10 football coach. Moreover, Alleva's biggest hire at LSU has been basketball coach Trent Johnson, which doesn't quite rank with Mal Moore's hiring of Nick Saban as Alabama's football coach. Fans don't spend much time agonizing over "the administrator who got away." Nor does an administrative hire foster a wave of second-guessing. There's no won-lost record by which to judge them unless you count the records of the coaches they hire.
UT has hired a basketball coach and baseball coach in the last few months. Dooley is on the verge of only his second season. So no matter who the next AD is, he should be able to stay in the fans' good graces as long as he doesn't raise ticket prices or narrow the seats at Neyland Stadium.
In the meantime, UT's search committee should continue to aim high. Hit or miss, what has it got to lose?