KNOXVILLE - Tennessee's search for a new athletic director is back in the discussion stage.
More than a month after Joe Alleva's last-minute 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 AD Rick Hart, who declined to comment when reached by the Times Free Press early 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 time frame 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.
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 adviser to the Atlantic Coast Conference and commissioner John Swofford.
Hart left FSU during an NCAA investigation into department-wide academic scandal the school self-reported. The situation involved 61 student-athletes and ended with FSU 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 Tech'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 an AD hired 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.