In June, Joe Alleva tried unsuccessfully to bring Alabama softball coach Pat Murphy to LSU.
Tennessee apparently tried to lure Alleva to become its new athletic director, but as with Murphy the result was the same: Alleva turned down Rocky Top to stay on the bayou.
LSU released a statement Tuesday evening announcing that Alleva would remain as athletic director, bringing to a sudden close a whirlwind day of speculation and reports, some saying he was on the verge of taking the Tennessee job.
“Baton Rouge is my home and I want to be part of the community for a long time to come,” Alleva said in a university news release.
“There is more work to be done and my heart bleeds purple and gold.”
Alleva said he didn’t pursue the job at Tennessee, which is seeking a replacement for former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned June 7.
LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said a new compensation package for Alleva will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval at a future meeting. Terms were not disclosed.
“Tennessee is a wonderful place,” Alleva said. “But in the end I felt that Chancellor Martin has a great vision for LSU. He and the Board of Supervisors — particularly James Moore and Blake Chatelain — showed tremendous support for me to stay at LSU.”
In April, LSU extended Alleva’s contract three years through June 2016 without adding any compensation to his existing $550,000 salary.
“I think the benefit of keeping Joe exceeded the costs, monetary and non-monetary,” Martin said. “The good thing is the board seems to be entirely behind it.”
Attempts to reach Alleva for additional comments Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Martin said he began talking with Alleva on Monday and their discussions continued Tuesday as Martin cut short a trip to New Mexico to head home and deal with the situation.
By Tuesday night, Martin had made it only as far as the Dallas-Fort Worth airport but succeeded in achieving his goal.
“I think it’s the right outcome,” Martin said. “We’ve done well under Joe’s leadership. If you stand back and take a look at the program from a multiple year, multiple sport perspective, we’ve done as well as anyone could expect us to do. Joe deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Martin said he didn’t know if Tennessee’s administration officially extended a formal job offer, but that “my sense from a variety of sources was that they were very serious.”
Martin said he wanted to make Alleva a fair offer while avoiding a bidding war with Tennessee, which like LSU is a member of the Southeastern Conference.
“I didn’t want him to go back to them and say, ‘This is what (LSU) offered,’” Martin said. “This was the deal, a fair and reasonable package that reflected Joe’s value to the program and the market we’re in.
“Good people are constantly in demand. Do I wish keeping good people in college athletics cost less? I do. But putting aside all of that, you ask yourself at this moment in time what’s in the best interest of our student-athletes, faculty, students, alumni, friends and fans.”
Alleva became LSU’s athletic director on April 4, 2008, after serving in that capacity for 10 years at Duke. A native of Suffern, N.Y., Alleva spent 32 years at Duke overall.
In February, Alleva was named to a five-year term on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee, which annually selects the field for the NCAA tournament. Alleva will begin his term in September.
Earlier this month, reports labeled former LSU assistant athletic director Dan Radakovich, now A.D. at Georgia Tech, as the front-runner for the Tennessee job. Radakovich has denied those accounts.
Longtime Tennessee women’s athletic director and LSU graduate Joan Cronan, an Opelousas native, is serving as interim A.D., overseeing the consolidation of both men’s and women’s programs into one department until Hamilton’s replacement can be found.