KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With high-energy and some self-deprecating whit, John Currie is ready to “give his all for Tennessee.”
The Vols welcomed their newest athletics director home Thursday, introducing the former Kansas State AD in a ceremony inside Thompson-Boling Arena. Currie spent more than a decade at UT after earning his masters degree from the university, serving various roles in the athletics department from 1997-2009. After eight years in Manhattan, he gladly accepted the opportunity to return to Knoxville.
“Being here in this building brings back so many memories,” Currie said standing near the same spot he received his degree.
Currie returns to the place where his three children were born and his love for orange first began. During his interview with chancellor Dr. Beverly Davenport in Kansas on Monday, he made sure that the chancellor drank out of a ‘Power T’ glass and saw his wooden Tennessee sign. He wanted to return home.
“I think he has more Tennessee things than I do,” Dr. Davenport joked.
With famous alums, coaches and boosters such as Peyton Manning, Jimmy Haslem, Johnny Majors, Bud Ford, Larry Pratt and Ray Hand in attendance, Dr. Davenport detailed why she chose Currie to lead Tennessee’s athletics. She highlighted his strengths as “honest, transparent and high-energy.”
She also acknowledged the publicness of the search, noting that “there’s been some interest in who I was going to hire or who I should hire” — a reference to fan-favorite candidates David Blackburn and Phillips Fulmer.
“But our goal has never changed,” Dr. Davenport said.
“We wanted the best athletics director for the University of Tennessee. I wanted a sitting AD at a Power 5 school. These are complex jobs. Experience matters. I wanted someone with unwavering integrity and a commitment to compliance. A person with a vision who understands how to mange and lead the entire enterprise.”
Although Currie didn’t directly outline his vision for the athletics department or address his initial plans, he made sure to mention several former Vols, including coach Fulmer, and said his two favorite maxims from Kansas State were “no self-limitations and unity.”
Currie addressed his task to unite a fractured fanbase and work hard to build relationships with coaches, administrators, fans and boosters. He recognized his need to listen to others, gladly accepting a program where apathy isn’t a problem.
“I’ll take fans that care anytime. We can deal with care,” he said. “We’re going to get right after it.”
Later, Currie added, “All I can do is get out there and work hard every single day. I think the listening
“This is a very special place, and people have poured their heart and soul into the place. You just have to spend some time and appropriately honor, recognize and be around folks and those things will work themselves out.”
Currie’s press conference with the media is embedded below.
New Tennessee athletics director John Currie holds his introductory press conference. Tune in.
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Thursday, March 2, 2017