FEINSWOG: Joe Alleva… Off the Cuff
New LSU AD Joe Alleva makes his Baton Rouge television debut
Herb Vincent and I love to laugh at the story. It’s one you may have heard, but what the heck.
He was sports information director at the time, and Herb took it upon himself to personally chauffeur new LSU football coach Nick Saban to the set of “Sports Monday.”
It was the first Monday after the 2000 football signing day and Saban was, in essence, making his area extended-interview debut.
Truly, it was the longest two hours of my life. Problem was, the show was only an hour long. And live at that.
Saban improved in interviews.
Some will debate if I have as an interviewer, but that’s another story for another day.
Nonetheless, when Herb dropped the coach off back on campus, Saban said something about how he thought it went pretty well and how he should do more of those things.
We were stunned.
Fast forward to this past Monday night.
Vincent is now LSU’s senior associate athletic director, in essence the No. 2 guy in the department. But he’s still in touch with the things that matter. Like “Sports Monday.”
So he was kind enough to personally chauffeur new athletic director Joe Alleva to the set.
We are both extremely thrilled to tell you it went way better than the last time he drove a guy to my show.
Alleva was a fabulous interview.
He settled into the big chairs and took on all my questions, including a couple about Duke lacrosse, and did a good job of convincing me that he really wants to be at LSU, welcomes the challenge and, despite what many may think, does know what he’s in for.
He might want to say “Southeastern” Conference instead of “Southeast” Conference, but that’s about all you could quibble with.
Of course, he hasn’t lost a football game yet, hasn’t had to raise a ticket price, hasn’t had to fire a coach, hasn’t had to deal with anything unpleasant, all of which help define the job of the A.D.
The other part of the equation is money, something LSU athletics spends a lot of and something Alleva is good at finding.
Money is what makes big-time college sports go round, whether you’re at Duke or LSU.
But back to the guy. He was pleasant, said all the right things about being at LSU, including his love for football despite the woeful program at Duke, and carefully sidestepped – because of legal ramifications – the lacrosse stuff.
Alleva was quick to point out that he’s not named in the pending lacrosse lawsuits but is probably going to have to be a witness.
And football? Duke hired as coach David Cutcliffe, who just might be the answer. Alleva intimated that his old school finally agreed to spend the money to hire a top-notch coach and give him a chance to succeed.
That’s not a problem at LSU, of course, where the football team is the defending national champion and many of the other sports are in the upper echelon.
Alleva had praise for outgoing A.D. Skip Bertman and said, more or less, that things at his new school are not broken and he won’t be fixing them.
He needed a fresh start, LSU needed a new A.D. and, at least from an hour of live TV, it appears as if LSU has a good hire.
So Herb Vincent can drive him to the show any time he wants.
Baton Rouge sportswriter Lee Feinswog is the host of the weekly television show “Sports Monday.” He’s covered LSU athletics since 1984. His book “HoopDaddy” is available at www.HoopDaddy.net. Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 926-3256.