Dave Hart Named Tennessee Athletic Director After Lengthy Search

After reaching out to LSU's AD Joe Alleva, then being used as leverage for a new deal keeping Alleva at LSU, Tennessee is still without an athletic director.

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Dave Hart Hired As New Tennessee Volunteers Athletic Director

The Tennessee Volunteers will introduce Dave Hart, 62, as their new athletic director Monday, concluding a search that began in early June. Former AD Mike Hamilton was fired amid turmoil surrounding Bruce Pearl's exit, Lane Kiffin's exit and a whole array of other exits. Jon Gruden calls this guy The Interstate.

Hart comes from the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he held the title of executive director of athletics. Before heading to Tuscaloosa, he was the longtime Florida St. Seminoles AD. Alabama fans have been anxious about the news for several days now, dating back to when Jimmy Hyams first reported the potential hire.

He won't exactly inherit the stablest operation in America, with shards of a football program still being glued back together by young coach Derek Dooley.

Interim AD Joan Cronan performed ably, holding the fort through both tragedy and turnover as state legend Pat Summitt revealed her Alzheimer's diagnosis and the school hired a new men's basketball coach.

For more on the Tennessee Volunteers, visit Vols blog Rocky Top Talk.

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Mike Hamilton's Replacement Is A Lady! (For Now)

Tennessee is one of the few major-college athletics programs in the country to field two directors, one for men's sports and one for women's, and according to Knoxville radio, the latter is about to take over for the former: Lady Vols' athletic director Joan Cronan, will serve as interim AD for all sports in the absence of Mike Hamilton while the university searches for a replacement candidate.

That replacement will also be Cronan's eventual replacement -- according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the new AD position will helm both departments, with Cronan moving up to serve in the school's chancellor's office in 2012. 

And if I ran the zoo, she'd have the job outright if she wanted it. The woman has worked side-by-side with Pat Summitt for so long that an untold volume of Summitt's death-ray stare power must have leached into her body through osmosis. If you've ever looked into her eyes, you already know: Nobody, pampered player or entitled coach, would dare put a toe out of line on her watch.

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Mike Hamilton Press Conference: 'I Have Become A Lightning Rod For Negative Attention'

Tennessee men's AD Mike Hamilton's resignation press conference was a brief affair, heavy on Biblical imagery and book report-quality remembrances and light on actual information. What few facts were gleaned from the Q & A session, in between Hamilton waxing awkwardly poetic, are collected below:

• Hamilton will serve as AD through June 30, and still intends to attend Saturday's hearing with the Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, where Tennessee will defend itself against charges of NCAA violations during the football and basketball reigns of Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl.

• Hamilton said he's been considering this decision for several months, and will take time off to enjoy the company of his family, but believes he'll be an AD again.

• Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said that while Hamilton was not forced out, he did not attempt to dissuade Hamilton from resigning.

• Hamilton said that while serving as UT's AD has been "an incredible daily leadership lesson and a dream come true," he had "become a lightning rod for negative attention."

• A search committee of faculty members and other UT figures will be formed, and a search firm will be hired to conduct a national sweep for Tennessee's next AD. The university hopes to have a new candidate in place by football season. Cheek will have the ultimate decision over the hiring.

• Hamilton said he didn't want to give the appearance that his resignation had anything to do with Saturday's date with the NCAA. Which, presumably, is why he resigned four days before Saturday's date with the NCAA. Whatever. As Rocky Top Talk notes, "The timing here screams that something's hitting somewhere, and it's not minor."

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