University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced that Athletic Director John Currie has been placed on leave with pay and that she appointed Phillip Fulmer to perform the role of athletic director.
The chancellor said she made the decision in the best interest of the university. Davenport stressed the need for Volunteers to stand together and to support the university and this appointment.
“Phillip Fulmer has been a great representative of the university. He has been a student-athlete, a head coach, and a father of UT student-athletes,” Davenport said. “He understands our history, our rich traditions, and the importance of supporting our student-athletes.
“I am confident that Phillip understands our commitment to excellence in all of our athletic programs and I appreciate his willingness to serve during this critical time.”
Davenport said that Fulmer will continue the Vols football coach search beginning immediately.
“Tennessee has a very engaged and passionate fan base. I appreciate and respect all of our supporters, alumni, fans, and student-athletes, and I deeply regret what we have gone through this past week,” Davenport said. “I am committed to a process that will result in the best person to support our student-athletes and lead the football program.”
The search has been highly criticized, with two coaches already turning down the multi-million dollar offer.
Fulmer has been connected to UT athletics for more than 40 years. A 1972 UT graduate, he was a star on the offensive line and served as team captain during his senior year. Fulmer returned as an assistant coach in 1980 before being named head coach in 1992. Under his leadership, the Vols won back-to-back SEC titles in 1997 and 1998 and the 1998 BCS National Championship.
Fulmer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He has been serving as a special advisor to UT President Joe DiPietro for community, athletics, and university relations.