LSU enthusiasts still celebrating the news that Baton Rouge native and current Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward will replace outgoing AD Joe Alleva can thank Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, in part, for making things happen.
Or, at least, for getting them started. Dardenne confirms he made the initial call to Woodward—at the request of the chairman of the LSU Board of Supervisors, James Williams—to make him aware the AD position would soon be available and to gauge his interest in taking it.
“The chairman of the board advised me they were going to make a change and asked me to contact Scott,” Dardenne says. “That was the extent of my involvement. I was simply the conduit.”
Dardenne made the call earlier this month—within the past two weeks, he estimates—and says he had nothing to do with the decisions that had preceded it or those that followed.
“I was not involved in any discussions whatsoever regarding terms or conditions or money,” he says. “My role was purely as the initial conduit to put the right people together.”
Though both Dardenne and Woodward are Baton Rouge natives and LSU alumni, the two grew up several years apart and didn’t know each other until the 1990s, when Woodward was working as a lobbyist and later, an LSU administrator, and Dardenne was in the state legislature.
Dardenne says during those years he gained a tremendous amount of respect for Woodward, adding that if there was going to be a change in the athletic department at LSU then “Scott was the obvious choice.”
Technically, it is not the role of the Board of Supervisors to recruit, hire or fire university administrators like the athletics director. Those duties are under the purview of the president, F. King Alexander, who was hired by and reports to the board.
Dardenne says he cannot speak to what role the board—as opposed to the president—played in the change in leadership over the athletics department.
“I don’t know what level of involvement King had,” Dardenne says. “My initial contact came from the chair of the board that a change was imminent. He made it pretty clear that this was going to happen and I was interested in making this happen.”