TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State athletic director David
Hart Jr. is leaving the school after a dozen years.
Florida State president T.K. Wetherell told Hart this summer
that his contract would not be renewed after its January 2009
"The uncertainty, it can become paralyzing," Hart said. "Now
is the time for everybody to move on. Not to do so would not be the
Wetherell, who played football for the Seminoles 40 years ago,
and Hart had not seen eye-to-eye on the operation of the athletic
department for the past few years.
Hart, 58, described his departure as a "presidential
decision," and said "I respect that."
Wetherell was not immediately available for comment, although
the administration released a statement saying it would pick an
interim replacement for Hart on Friday.
Coach Bobby Bowden praised Hart for his work at the school.
"I'm sure he's got something good in mind," Bowden said.
"I've got a feeling that something's in the works."
Hart, who choked up a couple of times during the news conference
and paused briefly to regain his composure, described his day as
He will receive a lump sum payment of $475,000 in January 2009
to cover the 13 months remaining on his contract after his
departure. The school's booster organization is already on the hook
for more than $537,000 it agreed to pay former offensive
coordinator Jeff Bowden.
Wetherell has pushed Hart to improve working relationships with
other university offices, improve procedures for investigating
allegations of wrongdoing by athletes, and the internal
communications within the athletic department.
According to state records, Hart was paid $557,821.21 last year.
Two of Hart's top assistants, Charlie Carr and Pam Overton, left
Florida State on Oct. 1.
The school also is awaiting word from the NCAA after it
self-reported an academic scandal involving two dozen athletes that
resulted in two employees being fired this past summer.
During Hart's tenure, success in high-revenue sports like
football has dropped off while several other programs, namely men's
track and women's soccer, flourished.
Hart also had mixed success with his coaching hires. Chris
Gobrecht left after just one year as the women's basketball coach
and her contractual situation wound up in litigation. Steve
Robinson was fired after five mediocre seasons as the men's
basketball coach, and the program reached postseason play only once
during Hart's tenure.