One year after leaving his job as Mal Moore’s #2 at Alabama, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart is looking back on the decision he made to move from one SEC rival to another. Hart inherited a budget shortfall, a football coach who’s growing more unpopular with each loss, and the huge task of overseeing the combination of UT’s men’s and women’s athletic departments into one entity. That process has spawned a number of discrimination-based lawsuits already.
“I think I would not hesitate to say there are more challenges than met the eye. I say that, but nobody misled me for a second. There are many things that even people here did not realize. Certainly didn’t realize the extent of some of those challenges. Now everybody does realize it and everybody is working together to overcome those challenges and we will.”
Hart also said the job of trying to keep UT up with the Joneses on the recruiting front is made more challenging by the Tennessee’s cash issues.
For those wondering if Derek Dooley’s situation could be impacted by UT’s cash issues, see what you make of this:
“We’re sitting here with the largest debt service in the conference and by far the smallest reserve. Our reserve is under $2 million. We compete with people at $50-$100 million in reserves. That’s a challenge. I think we have some good ideas and good plans. I think that’s short-term in the sense of us being able to come out of that.
We also have to put some of these other pieces in place in order for the football program to totally recover. We’ve got to put these other pieces in place.”
So can UT afford to buyout Dooley and staff, hire a new staff and pay that head coach’s buyout from his current school? Or must the Volunteers make a change with Dooley in order to up season-ticket sales (not a guaranteer) and bring in more revenue?
The cash issue puts Dooley’s job security into an even grayer area, doesn’t it?