published Thursday, September 1st, 2011

UT reaches out to Alabama executive athletic director

KNOXVILLE - The University of Tennessee's search for a new athletic director appears to be up and running again.

More than a month after Joe Alleva's last-second decision to remain at LSU instead of taking the job with the Volunteers, UT has had contact with Dave Hart, the executive director of athletics at Alabama, according to a source.

Hart is the former athletic director at Florida State and the father of UT Chattanooga athletic director Rick Hart, who declined to comment when reached by the Times Free Press earlier Thursday afternoon.

Alabama confirmed the contact and released a brief statement early Thursday evening.

"Mr. Hart has had conversations with officials at the University of Tennessee," the statement said. "However, no decisions have been made, and no timeframe exists for making a decision."

Jimmy Hyams, a radio host for WNML in Knoxville, tweeted that UT had offered the job to Dave Hart and was awaiting his answer. Sources told the Knoxville News Sentinel that Hart and UT had made contact, but no offer had yet been extended.

Hart played basketball at Alabama, and he ran Florida State's athletic department from 1995 to 2007, doubling the department's budget and revenues during his tenure. The Seminoles won a national championship in football in 1999 and played for the title in 1998 and 2000. He joined Alabama athletic director Mal Moore in August of 2008 after holding a position as advisor to the Atlantic Coast Conference and commissioner John Swofford.

Hart left the school during an NCAA investigation into department-wide academic scandal it self-reported that involved 61 student-athletes and ended with Florida State forfeiting wins and losing scholarships in football and penalties for nine other sports.

UT has been looking for a new athletic director since Mike Hamilton's June 7 resignation. That search appeared to have landed on Georgia Tech's Dan Radakovich before Alleva, but the NCAA put the Yellow Jackets on four years' probation and wiped out the school's 2009 ACC football title.

The NCAA ruled in UT's case for violations in the football and men's basketball programs last week, adopted all the school's self-imposed penalties and credited the school's cooperation in its ruling.

The Vols open the football season against Montana on Saturday. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in June he'd like to have a hire made by the start of the season, but the search appeared to have been put on hold until after the season with interim athletic director Joan Cronan in charge.

More coverage as it develops online and in Friday's Times Free Press.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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