Alleva spurns UT

Tennessee's search for an athletics director began as a test of chancellor Jimmy Cheek's mettle. Now it might become a test of his perseverance.

Seven weeks have passed since the position came open, and the Vols appear no closer to hiring a replacement than they were when Mike Hamilton resigned back on June 7.

Cheek's latest target, LSU athletics director Joe Alleva, flirted with the Vols briefly but decided to stay in Baton Rouge when the school promised a bump in his salary. The amount of the raise is not known at this time.

In announcing his decision, Alleva said all of the things you'd expect a guy to say after declining another school's overtures.

"This is not an opportunity that I pursued, and Tennessee is a wonderful place, but in the end I felt that Chancellor Martin has a great vision for LSU," Alleva said. "He and the Board of Supervisors - particularly James Moore and Blake Chatelain - 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 published reports, Tennessee now has been told "Thanks, but no thanks" by Tom Jurich of Louisville, Gene DeFilippo of Boston College and Mitch Barnhart of Kentucky. Whether UT's interest in any of those escalated to the point of actually making contact is not known.

Georgia Tech's Dan Radakovich appeared all set to take the job a few weeks ago, then the NCAA hit Tech's football program with a four-year probation and cited Radakovich for having improper conversations regarding the investigation with head coach Paul Johnson. Since Hamilton's resignation was prompted in large part by improprieties in Tennessee's football and basketball programs, Radakovich went from leading contender to touch-me-not in a matter of hours.

Longtime Lady Vol athletics director John Cronan will continue to serve as interim AD for the men until a permanent successor to Hamilton is found. Perhaps she should kick off her shoes and relax. This search might take awhile.

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