KNOXVILLE - The University of Tennessee's search for a new athletic director appeared to be drawing to a close on Tuesday, when multiple reports surfaced that LSU vice chancellor and athletic director Joe Alleva would take the position.
LSU put an end to those reports early Tuesday night with a release announcing that Alleva would stay in Baton Rouge.
"This is not an opportunity that I pursued, and Tennessee is a wonderful place, but in the end I felt that Chancellor [Michael] Martin has a great vision for LSU," Alleva said in the release. "He and the board of supervisors...showed tremendous support for me to stay at LSU.
"Baton Rouge is my home and I want to be part of the community for a long time to come. There is more work to be done and my heart bleeds purple and gold. I look forward to working every day to make LSU a better place for the best student-athletes, coaches and fans in America."
According to multiple reports, UT had targeted Alleva as its top target to replace Mike Hamilton, who resigned in June. Alleva had interviewed with UT and Parker Search Group, the school's hired search firm, over the weekend. When it appeared Alleva might take the UT job as early as Wednesday, LSU was able to keep its fourth-year athletic director.
"It was brought to my attention that the University of Tennessee was interested in Joe becoming their athletic director, and often good people - both in academics and athletics - attract interest from other institutions," Martin said in the release.
"We have been please with Joe's performance, so in concert with the leadership of the board of supervisors, we determined it was in the best interests of the university to make him a sufficiently fair offer and an opportunity to remain at LSU. We are happy that he has chosen to keep Baton Rouge as his home."
Alleva arrived at LSU in 2008 after 11 years as the athletic director at Duke, where the Blue Devils won six national titles and 44 Atlantic Coast Conference titles during his tenure. He also hired three football coaches, fired a baseball coach amid allegations that the coach was encouraging players to take steroids and navigated the lacrosse team through an infamous rape case involving three players.
LSU won the 2008 national title in baseball. The Tigers' football program, however, was placed on one year of probation last weekend after the NCAA ruled in case involving violations by a former assistant coach and a former player. The NCAA, which generally puts schools that commit major infractions on probation for two years, lauded LSU for how it handled the case quickly and effectively to avoid stiffer sanctions.
More coverage and details online, in Wednesday's Times Free Press and on Twitter.