The University of Tennessee appeared to be looking for someone who knows Volunteer athletics inside out. It was thought for a long time that Phillip Fulmer would be the next gentleman to go from coach to athletic director, which appears that will never be. Despite all the recent success in the last three seasons under Butch Jones, Rocky Top needed familiarity. Though it is not Phillip Fulmer, Rocky Top has found someone with just as much understanding about any sport.
Kansas State athletic director John Currie has been named to replace the retiring Dave Hart who could begin his new job on April 1. Hart decided to retire after not receiving an extension or a raise, which he was making $800,000 per year. While he is technically on staff through June 30, Hart will be on paid administrative leave until his official retirement date. Hart had been Tennessee’s athletic director since 2011 and had two years remaining on his current contract.
Currie holds a master’s degree at Tennessee, and has worked in the athletic department for a number of years as assistant and associate athletic director. He was present throughout the whole time when Fulmer was still the head coach. What Currie will most likely have on his plate when he takes office is helping improve the reputation of Tennessee football and other sports, along with the issues of the Title XI lawsuit which has placed a dark cloud over the university the past year.
It has been said that Currie was praised when dealing with financial issues while at the same time dealing with scrutiny with head coaches at Kansas State. There were reports that Currie and now South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin did not get along which led him to leave the Wildcats. Hopefully there won’t be that issue when it comes to football or any other sport, including the Lady Vols basketball team possibly still dealing with the death of their beloved coach Pat Summitt.
In any case, there is still hope for familiar things to return to Tennessee as far as its culture is concerned. Since Fulmer’s retirement, it has been an uphill battle to get back to the top at any sport. Here’s to hoping that Currie will bring more positivity back to Rocky Top and everyone will be happy.