The Seminoles' AD since 1995, Hart was informed of the decision in a two-paragraph letter from school president T.K. Wetherell. The two met Wednesday for a little more than an hour to discuss the future of the department.
"T.K. has made the decision, notified the athletic director and at some point the two will come to a decision about the transition and departure date," school vice president Lee Hinkle said Wednesday.
Wetherell has pushed Hart the past few years 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.
In his only comment on Wetherell's decision, Hart said in a statement that he intends to fulfill his contract, a 10-year agreement that expires in January 2009.
Hart, 58, was paid $557,821.21 last year, state payroll records show.
Bobby Bowden, whose 366 coaching wins are the most among major college coaches, would not comment on the pending change. Gov. Charlie Crist, a Florida State graduate and fan of the school's athletic program, also dodged the issue.
"I've got plenty of decisions to make and that's not one I have to make," Crist said. "I'll leave that one to the university."
During Hart's tenure, the Seminoles won one national title in football (1999) and two in track and field (2006, 2007). The baseball and basketball programs have struggled in recent years.
Some of Florida State's most ardent football fans have long blamed Hart for the school being forced to unsuccessfully face archrival Florida in the 1996 national championship just five weeks after the Seminoles defeated the Gators in their regular-season finale.
Hart had mixed success with his coaching choices. 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 unfruitful seasons as the men's coach. The men's basketball program was invited to NCAA postseason play only once during Hart's reign.
The women's program, however, has enjoyed steady improvement in recent years. Gobrecht's replacement, Sue Semrau, and Bob Braman have turned the track program into a national powerhouse, while Patrick Baker and Mark Krikorian have taken the women's soccer program to national prominence.
Hart replaced interim director Wayne Hogan, who took over the department at Florida State after Bob Goin was fired after the state ethics commission ruled he had accepted a cut-rate deal for a new roof at his home from a company doing business with the school.
Hart was offered the Florida State job after McKinley Boston turned it down to stay at the University of Minnesota.
A 1971 graduate of the University of Alabama, Hart coached and taught at the high school level before moving to the college ranks at the University of East Carolina in 1983. His father, David Hart Sr., was also a prominent collegiate athletic director with stints at Missouri and Louisville as well as serving as commissioner of the Southern Conference.
David Hart Jr.'s son, Rick, is the athletic director at the University of Tennessee-Chatanooga.
Story Courtesy: AP Wire Reports