Volunteers Needed: John Currie out as Tennessee athletic director

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 1, 2017 at 11:12 AM
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John Currie is out as Tennessee athletic director after an embarrassing week in the school's search for the next Volunteers football coach.

Currie, 46, parted ways with the university after meeting with school officials, including chancellor Beverly Davenport, on Friday morning, ESPN's Chris Low confirmed multiple media reports.

Currie flew back earlier Friday to Knoxville after interviewing Washington State coach Mike Leach on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Tennessee officials instructed Currie not to broker a deal with Leach or anybody else prior to returning to campus, according to ESPN.

Currie previously was the athletic director at Kansas State and had been on the job at Tennessee for just eight months after getting hired on April 1.

Currie's first major move as the Volunteers AD came on Nov. 12 when he fired fifth-year coach Butch Jones and took on the national search for a replacement.

Currie on Monday defended the coaching search and vetting of leading candidate Greg Schiano, a day after the Volunteers backed out of the hiring agreement following a public backlash and campus protests. The Vols reportedly had a deal in place with the Ohio State defensive coordinator on Sunday morning, but it fell through by the end of the day after the university heard from the fan base, state representatives and local business owners.

The outcry stemmed from Schiano's time on the staff at Penn State in the early 1990s, with fans expressing outrage with his alleged connection to convicted child sexual abuser Jerry Sandusky. Schiano spent five seasons at Penn State, four as the defensive backs coach on the staff with Sandusky, who was defensive coordinator.

Testimony released in 2016 brought up Schiano's name in the Sandusky trial. Former Penn State staffer Mike McQueary, from his 2015 deposition, said fellow assistant coach Tom Bradley told McQueary that Schiano was aware of a child sexual abuse incident by Sandusky.

Schiano, who coached under Joe Paterno at Penn State, has denied an allegation of his knowledge of child abuse by Sandusky. Bradley, defensive coordinator under recently fired UCLA coach Jim Mora, also denied having knowledge or witnessing any of Sandusky's abuse.

Students gathered on Tennessee's campus in Knoxville on Sunday to protest a potential Schiano hire once the news leaked. At a huge rock on campus where students often paint various messages, the words "Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State" appeared.

In his head-coaching search, Currie also had discussions with Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, Duke's David Cutcliffe, North Carolina State's Dave Doeren, Purdue's Jeff Brohm and Dan Mullen, who left Mississippi State to take Florida's job.

Jones was fired the day after Tennessee lost 50-17 at Missouri to fall to 0-6 in Southeastern Conference play. The Volunteers then lost their final two games to finish 4-8 overall and 0-8 in the conference. Jones had a 34-27 record in five seasons at Tennessee.

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