The bulk of Dave Hart's athletic director career was spent at Florida State, where, from 1995 to 2007, he helped double the department's budget and revenue and saw 10 athletic programs win 35 Atlantic Coast Conference championships.
The end of his tenure with the Seminoles, though, 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.
Hart, Tennessee's new vice chancellor and director of athletics, has said in subsequent interviews, in a letter to the Committee on Infractions and again in his introductory news conference Monday that his resignation from Florida State and the major infractions case were two unrelated events.
Dave Hart introduced as UT's Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics - Pt. 1
"When I left Florida State, we had already made that decision before we knew there was an issue with the online music course and those type of things," Hart said. "I worked hand-in-hand with the program, with legal counsel with our faculty, looking into what did happen."
In his letter to the Committee on Infractions, which was obtained by the St. Petersburg Times in 2009, Hart wrote that he "simply agreed to disagree on some core issues" with Florida State president T.K. Wetherell. Shortly before Hart resigned, Wetherell told him that his contract would not be renewed after its January 2009 completion.
In his own letter to the Committee on Infractions, which also was obtained by The Times, Wetherell said he did not renew the contract because of "a series of management issues."
"Mr. Hart indicated in his letter that he and I 'agreed to disagree on some core issues,' " Wetherell wrote. "One of those 'core issues' was his supervision of the athletics department."
UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek said he talked with a former colleague of his from Florida State, who explained to him that the school's academic scandal was "an academic matter affecting students at FSU and obviously athletes at FSU, but it was not an athletic matter that influenced academics."
"In the athletic world, there's not going to be an athletic administrator that feels like Dave Hart was involved in a negative way in that situation at Florida State," UT women's athletic director Joan Cronan said. "We all have the ultimate respect for his integrity."