Phillip Fulmer got his wish and has been named interim athletic director at Tennessee after he reportedly worked behind the scenes to oust John Currie from the position.
Fulmer and others were reportedly actively sabotaging the search process for the school’s next football coach. Well, it worked and now it’s on Fulmer to find a new coach for the Vols.
As a fun side note: Currie pushed extremely hard to fire Fulmer as the school’s head coach back in 2008. Currie was the associate athletic director at the time. Now Fulmer is the one who worked to oust Currie. The old coach played the long game and got his revenge in the end. It’s also worth noting that Currie had only been the school’s athletic director since February 28, 2017. He lasted just 276 days.
Everyone has been comparing Fulmer to Cersei Lannister, but let’s be real, he’s more Cassius to chancellor Beverly Davenport’s Brutus in this scenario. He may have laid the groundwork, but he got her to wield the knife for the killing blow.
So what’s next in the ridiculous, drama-filled world of Tennessee athletics? Plain and simple, Fulmer has to hire someone, and fast.
Currie was reportedly prepared to finish a deal with Washington State coach Mike Leach on Thursday, but university officials wouldn’t allow him to make the hire. Currie also apparently had a deal locked in with Purdue’s Jeff Brohm before the university nixed that. Neither of those moves made sense, but now that we know people were working to sabotage the process, things have become much more clear.
Fulmer now takes over a search process that has seen a Greg Schiano mess, along with rejections from Mike Gundy, David Cutcliffe, Dave Doeren, Dan Mullen and Brohm. At this point, options are pretty thin on the ground.
The obvious place to turn would be USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who should have been a candidate from the beginning. Martin quarterbacked the Volunteers to a national championship while Fulmer was the head coach, and he’s become one of the nation’s best recruiters. At 39, he’d bring some much-needed energy and buzz to the position.
Maybe Leach is still an option, especially given his dissatisfaction with the situation at Washington State. Kevin Sumlin is out there. Memphis head coach Mike Norvell should get some consideration, as should Lane Kiffin.
Whatever Fulmer does, he better do it quickly. Someone needs to put out the fire that has consumed the school’s football program. It’s ridiculous now.
The Big Lead