ECU extends Hart’s stay as special advisor for athletics

The former athletic director will remain on the job through at least Dec. 15, allowing him to observe both the entire football season and the start of basketball

Dave Hart (far right) joins chancellor Cecil Staton (center) in introducing Joe Dooley as ECU's new basketball coach last April (ECU photo/Rob Goldberg Jr.)

  When Dave Hart signed on as a special advisor to East Carolina chancellor Cecil Staton, he was tasked with the responsibility of doing a “complete and accurate” assessment of the Pirates’ athletic program.

  It’s a job too big to be completed under the original six-month contract the former ECU athletic director signed back in March. In order to see the job through to its end, Hart has signed a three-month extension.

  Staton made the announcement in Greenville on Tuesday.

  Hart’s appointment will now run through December 15, a time frame that will allow him to observe a full football season, including the Pirates’ game-day environment at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. He will also be in a position to experience the start of basketball season while providing insight for building long-term success for both programs.

  In addition, Hart will now have more time to continue his assessment of student-athlete services and welfare impacting all 20 of  ECU’s varsity teams. He will also be prioritizing and assisting with future planning objectives to include fundraising strategies.

  “We are exceptionally grateful Dave has agreed to continue his evaluation of our athletics program,” Staton said in a statement. “His profound insight has been a critical resource in assessing not only where we are, but where we need to be.

  “It is imperative we maintain this progress, sustain the utilization of information and continue to address evolving components that will allow us to be in a position of stability for future leadership.”

  Although he is not officially ECU’s interim athletic director, Hart has essentially been running the school’s program since the abrupt departure of Jeff Compher last spring. Among his first duties was completing the search for the Pirates’ new basketball coach, an effort that resulted in the popular hiring of Joe Dooley.

  Hart has also provided guidance for the recent upgrades to the school’s new locker room and sports medicine treatment facility, as well as the ongoing renovation project for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. He will continue to give his input to the chancellor on current and future facility needs and will likely have a major role in deciding the future of football coach Scottie Montgomery once the 2018 season is done.

  “It has been very gratifying to assist ECU in the role of special advisor to Chancellor Staton on matters pertaining to athletics,” Hart said. “Chancellor Staton has been extremely positive and intentional relative to doing all he can to help the athletics program move forward in a strategic fashion.

  “I welcome the opportunity to remain on board throughout the football season and the start of the basketball season to assist and support Coach Montgomery as well as all of our coaches, department staff and student-athletes.”

  Hart was ECU’s athletic director from 1987-95 before leaving to take jobs running the athletic departments at Florida State, Alabama and Tennessee. He retired from athletic administration in April 2017 and started his own consulting and advising firm before agreeing to return to Greenville.

“I’ve seen it all — the good, the bad and the ugly during my 35 years in athletic administration — and I wanted to put that experience to good use,” Hart said in an interview this summer. “I wanted to give back to the profession I’ve spent most of my adult life in, that my father spent most of his adult life in and now my son, who is the athletic director at SMU, is in.

“When the chancellor reached out, I was more than honored to accept his offer to come aboard for six months, reboot the basketball search and once that search was completed, do a total assessment of the overall athletic program. Because of my strong feelings for East Carolina, not only was I willing to do it, I was honored to do it.”