Joe Alleva's tenure as LSU's athletic director will always be defined by Les Miles and Will Wade, but Alleva had a jam packed 10 years at the position of both positive and negative topics.
Alleva hired 11 new head coaches and contributed to new facilities for the LSU gymnastics, tennis and beach volleyball teams.
The Tigers also captured 18 Southeastern Conference titles and 48 individual NCAA Champions in the sports of men’s and women’s track and field, gymnastics, and men’s and women’s golf. The Tigers also claimed 124 individual SEC Championships during Alleva’s term.
The confusing end of the Les Miles era
Much of the overall disappointment with Alleva stems from his handling of many issues surrounding the football program.
LSU won a national championship the year before Alleva took over as athletic director in 2007 and has not won another one since. By LSU's standards, the team has underachieved since then, despite an undefeated regular season and national runner-up in the 2011 season.
In 11 seasons under Alleva, and eight under former coach Les Miles, LSU compiled a 105-37 record. Miles was fired after a 2-2 start in 2016, but the real issues started the previous November.
LSU and then-Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher were in talks days before the Tigers faced Texas A&M in the regular season finale, but Miles ultimately remained as the coach.
After he was fired four games into the 2016 season, a deal fell through with then-Houston head coach Tom Herman and Alleva hired interim head coach Ed Orgeron full time.
While it was unpopular at the time, and still remains unpopular with many fans, it seems as though the Orgeron hire worked out for Alleva.
In the 2018 season, Orgeron's second as head coach, LSU finished ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll following a 10-3 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory — the Tigers highest ranking and first major bowl victory in the College Football Playoff era.
Three men's basketball coaches (and another interim)
The LSU basketball program has never been under the microscope that the football program has, but its issues have been just as bad or worse.
LSU had three NCAA Tournament appearances and two SEC titles between three head coaches during Alleva's tenure.
Alleva's first duty as athletic director in 2008 was to replace John Brady as head coach of the LSU men's basketball team. While Skip Bertman was as acting athletic director until July 1 of that year, Alleva took the lead in hiring Trent Johnson on April 10, 2008.
Johnson won SEC Coach of the Year in his first season with a 26–7 overall record (13-3 SEC), along with the SEC title, earning the Tigers their first NCAA tournament berth since 2006.
The rest of his reign as head coach did not see the same success.
In 2009-10 and 2010-11, LSU went 11–20 with no postseason appearances. The 2011–12 season was slightly better with an 18–14 and an NIT bid.
Alleva then hired former LSU player Johnny Jones after Johnson left LSU for TCU in April. Jones played in the 1981 Final Four as a freshman and returned to the 1986 Final Four as an assistant coach under Dale Brown.
He also could not replicate that success as a head coach. Jones finished with a 90–72 overall record with a 42–48 SEC record in 5 seasons, including a 14-game losing streak at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Jones' head coaching years will be defined by the Ben Simmons season of 2015-16 where LSU failed to make the NCAA Tournament despite having the future No. 1 NBA Draft pick.
The third time seemed to be the charm for Alleva though, as he hired Will Wade following Jones' termination in 2017. In his second year as head coach, Wade led LSU to its most successful basketball season since 2008-09, including an SEC regular season title and a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Alleva has been criticized for his handling of Wade's suspension because of the FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting. Wade was caught on an FBI wiretap, reportedly speaking about a "strong ass offer" with middleman Christian Dawkins.
Wade has since been reinstated after speaking with Alleva and LSU administration.
The hiring of Nikki Fargas
LSU went to five straight Final Fours from the Sue Gunter's final season in 2003-04, through all three of Pokey Chatman's seasons as head coach and Van Chancellor's first season in 2007-08.
Chancellor resigned in 2011 and Alleva was tasked with the next head coach for LSU's historic program.
Nikki Caldwell (Fargas) was a brilliant hire at the time. Fargas played for legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt from 1990-94 and served as a graduate assistant for Summitt during the 1998-99 season.
She was also successful in three seasons as head coach at UCLA, compiling a 72–26 overall record and 40–14 PAC-12 record.
At LSU, Fargas has reached the NCAA Tournament five times, with two Sweet Sixteens appearances. LSU has failed to get past the first round of the tournament since 2014 and missed it all together this past season.
Alleva did not hire Paul Mainieri, but he did help usher in a new era of LSU baseball
While plans had been in place years before, the "new" Alex Box Stadium opened under Alleva's tenure in 2009 and Mainieri has continued LSU baseball's dominance in the world of college baseball.
LSU baseball is one of two sports (men's golf) to win a national championship under Alleva in 2009. The Tigers also have four College World Series appearances and a national runner-up title in 2017.
Softball hiring fiasco
Hiring Yvette Girouard's successor as the LSU softball head coach was initially smooth sailing, but it ended up being embroiled in controversy of its own.
Alleva attempted — and for a split second, succeeded — to hire Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. Murphy accepted the offer and held an introductory press conference to announce the hire. Murphy returned to Alabama a few days later.
Scrambling, Alleva landed on Florida International University head coach Beth Torina.
Torina, a former pitcher for the University of Florida, had a 129–111 head coaching record at FIU and was twice named Sun Belt Coach of the Year.
Torina has been one of LSU's most successful coaches in recent memory, going to three straight Women's College World Series from 2015-17 and another in 2012. The Tigers have made the postseason in every one of Torina's years as head coach.
The introduction of beach volleyball
Alleva was instrumental in the creation of LSU's newest varsity sport — beach volleyball.
The program started in 2014 with volleyball coach Fran Flory acting as head coach. She compiled a 40-28 record in three seasons before turning over the program to associated head coach Russell Brock in 2017.
Brock currently holds a 79-27 record halfway through the 2019 season. The team earned its first NCAA Tournament berth in 2017 and returned in 2018.
In 2017, the Tigers finished sixth in the national standings and Brock was named the CCSA Coach of the Year.
In February 2018, LSU announced plans for an on-campus beach volleyball facility at the site of the old tennis courts. The state of the art facility features six competition courts with 24-inch deep sand.
According to a press release, "The courts are state-of-the-art in sand permeability subsurface drainage and sand quality with a smooth sand to concrete transition. They feature an underground irrigation and wetting system that will facilitate competition play during hot days, cooling the sand for comfortable play."
Chris and Andy Brandi- men’s tennis
- The father and son duo joined the LSU men's tennis program in 2017
- The two led LSU to 10 overall wins and two SEC victories in 2017
- The Tigers currently sit at 16-10 (3-9 SEC) in 2019
Julia Sell- women’s tennis
- Sell took over the women's tennis program in 2011 brought the Tigers to national prominence.
- Sell helped coach the 2018 team to its fifth-straight SEC Tournament quarterfinals appearance and fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, where the Tigers advanced to the second round in the three of the past five seasons.
- Sell also coached LSU to its first first national title in the program's 42-year history as Jessica Golvin and Eden Richardson won the NCAA doubles championship.
Garrett Runion- women’s golf
- Became the head coach on June 8, 2018
- Spent six seasons as an assistant coach on LSU's men's golf team and was a part of the 2014 national title
- Three time Jan Strickland Award Finalist for Outstanding Assistant Coach
Dave Geyer - swimming and diving
- Geyer was promoted to co-head coach alongside Doug Shaffer in April 2010
- In 2016, Geyer led the women’s team to a 12-1 record for the most dual meet wins in a single season.
Facility, stadium upgrades
Alleva oversaw Tiger Stadium upgrades and expansion in South end zone in 2014 and Westside of the stadium.
He was also part of many renovations and entirely new building on campus, including the LSU Gymnastics Practice Facility, the new tennis courts, the Beach Volleyball Stadium, new Track & Field offices, a new Softball Performance Center and major renovations to the Football Operations Building.