Tennessee coach John Currie was suspended just eight months into the job as athletic director, and Phillip Fulmer replaces him. Those who are privy to the internal politics that led to this point can only shake their head in frustration.
The recent development also made the coaching search a lot murkier.
Fulmer was actually a legend after winning the national championship as Volts coach in 1998. However, he was fired about a decade later because of the eroding credibility of the Volts following multiple player arrests, and being embarrassed by the school’s rivals.
It was also that time that Currie was hired, and the speculation was Fulmer wanted the athletic director’s job, which went to Currie. Instead, the former Vols coach was named special adviser to Tennessee president Joe DiPietro.
Currie was fired probably because of the controversy surrounding his hiring of Greg Schiano, which resulted to fan backlash due to the Buckeyes defensive coordinator’s close association with convicted child molester Jerry Sundusky.
But The Ringer pointed out that it was only Schiano who actually accepted the offer to coach the Vols. There was also David Cutcliffe who declined because he’s not leaving Duke; Jeff Brohm who will also not leave Purdue; Mike Gundy who actually got a raise from Oklahoma State; Dave Doeren who also received a nice package from NC State. Chip Kelly didn’t even give the Vols the time of day.
It’s now the task of Fulmer to bring Washington State’s Mike Leach over.
According to Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman, Leach was listening closely to the offer. He tweeted on Nov. 30, “coaching search update: Source tells me the meeting with Mike Leach went very well. And… stay tuned.”
However, Leach was talking to Currie who was fired from the job. It’s not clear if the negotiations were scuttled as a result.