Tangible proof emerged Thursday that the search for a new vice chancellor of athletics at Tennessee is still in business, but the wait went on for at least one more day.
Members of UT’s five-person search committee recently talked with University of Alabama executive director of athletics Dave Hart, both schools confirmed Thursday.
A source with direct knowledge of the search told the News Sentinel that no formal offer has been made. The source requested anonymity because UT has not formally acknowledged any candidates for the position during the search.
“Mr. Hart has had conversations with officials at the University of Tennessee,” Alabama’s statement reads. “However, no decisions have been made, and no timeframe exists for making a decision.”
The Associated Press reported a person familiar with the situation said UT has offered the job to Hart. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the offer had not been made public.
The 62-year-old Hart, considered by many as the No. 2 to Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore, has been at Alabama since 2008. He spent the bulk of his career as the athletic director at Florida State (1995-2007).
Hart left Florida State after the school’s president, T.K. Wetherell, told him that his contract would not be renewed after its January 2009 completion. Hart’s departure came in the midst of a self-reported academic scandal with the NCAA that resulted in the vacation of wins for the football team, four years of probation and various penalties in 10 sports.
According to a St. Petersburg Times article from 2009, Hart did not leave Florida State as a direct result of the scandal. In a letter to the Committee on Infractions, Hart wrote that his decision to leave was “driven by the fact that the University President and I simply agreed to disagree on some core issues.”
During Hart’s time with the Seminoles, the athletic department’s budget more than doubled.
Hart, who played basketball under C.M. Newton at Alabama and also earned his master’s degree there, makes a salary of $341,250, according to a Tuscaloosa News database. In a 2008 Mobile Press-Register article, Hart said his role within the Alabama athletic department was “to lead the administrative team in the comprehensive operation of every facet of the department,” which would allow Moore to focus on fund-raising.
When hired, Hart said he was not promised Alabama’s athletic director job when the now 71-year-old Moore retired.
Combined with the eight years he spent as the athletic director at East Carolina, Hart has more than 20 years of experience as an athletic director at a Division I program.
UT has been looking to replace Mike Hamilton since he resigned on June 7.
LSU’s Joe Alleva has been the only other candidate publicly identified for the position.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble