All quiet on AD front as Dave Hart mulls his options

No timetable on decision

Dave Hart

Photo by Craig Litten

Dave Hart

One day after both Tennessee and Alabama acknowledged that Crimson Tide executive director of athletics Dave Hart was having "conversations" with UT about its vacant vice chancellor of athletics position, both schools remained mum Friday while he continued to mull his options.

In a statement Thursday, Alabama officials said "no time frame exists" for Hart, 62, to make a decision.

The athletic director at Florida State from 1995-2007, Hart makes a salary of $341,250, according to a Tuscaloosa News database. Former UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned June 7, made a base salary of $400,000, but UT is expected to pay significantly more than that for whomever it hires.

Hart, an Alabama alum for both his bachelor's and master's degrees who played basketball under legendary coach C.M. Newton, would fit the broad criteria laid out by UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek during Hamilton's resignation news conference. With his 13 years at Florida State and another eight at East Carolina, Hart has more than 20 years of experience as a Division I athletic director.

When hired at Alabama in 2008, Hart said he was not promised Alabama's athletic director job when the now 71-year-old Mal Moore retired.

Hart's father, Dave Sr., was a longtime athletic director at Missouri and the commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1986-91. Hart's son, Rick, is the athletic director at Chattanooga.

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. His 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.

Though it was initially believed that Hart's departure and the academic scandal were intertwined, it was discovered that Hart wrote in a letter to the NCAA Committee on Infractions that his decision to resign was "driven by the fact that (Wetherell) and I simply agreed to disagree on some core issues."

Nearly three months have elapsed since Hamilton's resignation. In that time, UT has named women's athletic director Joan Cronan its interim vice chancellor of athletics, formed a five-person search committee, hired Parker Executive Search for no less than $90,000 and had one candidate, LSU's Joe Alleva, publicly reject its offer to become the school's new athletic director.

Initially, Cheek set a six- to eight-week window for hiring a new athletic director. Since that deadline has passed, he has said he is instead focused on making the right hire for Tennessee.

UT officials, Cheek said last Wednesday at a board of trustees meeting in Murfreesboro, "just haven't quite found the right person yet."

"We're going to keep looking every day for an athletic director, but we're not going to choose one until we have the right one," he said. "And we have a superb interim vice chancellor and athletic director in place and she's doing a great job and we're not going to hire an AD until we have the person we think is right for Tennessee."

In an interview with the News Sentinel earlier this week, Cronan said the recently resolved NCAA investigation, which hovered over the program for more than 28 months, was going to "open doors" for the committee to find its

candidate. She also said conducting the search was a "different dynamic" during the school year.

"Finding the right person," Cronan said, "is more important than the timetable."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 17

TommyJack writes:

Hey Dave Hart. Mull this.

Kelly8 writes:

UT's movers and shakers and the Board of Trustees should listen carefully to what Jimmy Cheek believes is the right decision. And then do exactly the opposite of what he suggests.

ChrisUTvol writes:

Dave Hart = Dean Wormer

MikeInTN writes:

Another PR nightmare?

Vol-in-GA writes:

This will end one of two ways for the Alabama double grad: 1. He will take the UT job and parlay the experience he gains into getting the UA job when it opens, 2. He will leverage the offer to get a raise and/or a promise for AD job. I personally don't want an AD that sees my alma mater as a stepping stone or bargaining chip. Let's take our time and find someone who wants to make UT their home!

Classof72 writes:

Cheek's offered a guy with NCAA issues? Really? This is a joke, right? Well, that can't be, because UTAD can only accept a current sitting athletic director. What? Really? Nevermind.

Well, at least he's not David Blackburn. We wouldn't want a dedicated, capable UT guy running the athletic dept. At least, Gator Cheeks doesn't want one. Some university is going to get a great AD in David Blackburn. Gator Cheeks is determined that it not be UT.

UT should hire Parking Official Search (POS) to find a chancellor to replace Cheek. Pay 'em a huge fee to find someone with ethical issues and then give Cheek his ginormous buyout. He will have earned it. Remember, you can't spell 'buyoUT' without UT.

TommyJack writes:

You think AL would hire a guy with 2 degrees from UT? With a wife a UT grad too? Uh, no.
Lunatics have taken over the asylum at UT.

dvols writes:

$90,000 for a search firm.........just a good ol boy network...

ksgdad0607 writes:

Apparently none of the leaders of this university have any idea where UT is located. Hello, up there. We're in Tennessee. It's in our blood to hate Florida and Alabama. This comes naturally. PLEASE get your act together before it's too late. Or, is it already too late?

Tennesseebob writes:

Hart would be a great hire. The reason he left FSU was because he wanted to get rid of Bowden. FSU's president at the time, TK Weatherill played football under Bowden and was solidly in his corner. Bowden was not forced out until Weatherill 'resigned'. Dave Hart just did wonders at FSU. Hope he comes to TN.

vols2#227315 writes:

Hire Hart and I am going to quit donating to UT. Hiring an alabama guy is a put down to all UT Alumini. FFire Cheek if he hires him.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to Vol-in-GA:

This will end one of two ways for the Alabama double grad: 1. He will take the UT job and parlay the experience he gains into getting the UA job when it opens, 2. He will leverage the offer to get a raise and/or a promise for AD job. I personally don't want an AD that sees my alma mater as a stepping stone or bargaining chip. Let's take our time and find someone who wants to make UT their home!

Maybe but I doubt that the Bama folks would look to kindly on rehiring a guy that left T-town for Knoxville, even though he has no promise in place to succeed Mal Moore. Most likely, if Bama really wants him, he will get that promise and a hefty raise to go with it. If he gets snubbed in that quest by the Tide heirarchy, then there must be a reason and I'm not sure we should want him either. Go Vols!!!

Ironcity writes:

in response to Tennesseebob:

Hart would be a great hire. The reason he left FSU was because he wanted to get rid of Bowden. FSU's president at the time, TK Weatherill played football under Bowden and was solidly in his corner. Bowden was not forced out until Weatherill 'resigned'. Dave Hart just did wonders at FSU. Hope he comes to TN.

Bingo. Way to much focus on him being an assistant at Al. The only negative here is the guy is 61. Not to long until retirement

fpinckney7#269066 writes:

This guy is an Florida state reject.He did a horrible job at FSU. If he can't run an inferior athletic department like FSU, he can't run an upper tier SEC program like ours.

pcorange writes:

Not crazy about an Alabama alum for AD. We need someone who bleeds orange. Phil Fulmer for AD.

budd#207344 writes:

It appears Mr. cheek is over his head. this is the poorest excuse for a search ever. And to hear that we didn't offer the guy from SMU because parker doesn't like him is a joke. Tell parker to stick it and find the right person not a alabubba retread who got fired by free shoes university I do not need an AD from thug u.

flatrock writes:

Dave Hart is a solid guy, but, at the end of the day, he is an Alabama guy who would be nuts not to have his sights on aging Mal Moore's job. Somebody tell Jimmy The Cheek to listen to Joan Cronan and hire Bill Emendorfer, a UT guy with major biz experience and a man who would consider UT his dream job!

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