Ray Anderson, Arizona State’s athletic director, took a lot of heat for hiring Herm Edwards, who has not coached since 2008. But Anderson happened to have some strong words for the way things were handled at Tennessee.
In speaking with Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Anderson was highly critical of the way the Tennessee coaching search was handled and said that Phillip Fulmer, who took over for John Currie during the search, is not viewed favorably in the athletic directing world.
“The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster,” Anderson told Dodd. “Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director’s world is a pariah. It is not a good situation.”
Tennessee’s coaching search took many twists and turns. It began with the reported hiring of Greg Schiano, only for the Tennessee fan base to revolt to the news and force the two sides to back away. Currie and Schiano did sign a memorandum of understanding, so Tennessee could end up paying Schiano.
Then the Volunteers circled through a number of names such Mike Gundy, Jeff Brohm and Dave Doeren but could not land any of them. Currie reportedly agreed to a deal with Mike Leach but that was called off as Currie was suspended with pay and saw Fulmer end up taking his job.
Eventually, Tennessee ended up hiring Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s defensive coordinator. Unlike many of the candidates Currie targeted, Pruitt has no previous coaching experience. But he is an excellent recruiter and has a lot of SEC experience.
But as crazy as the Tennessee search was, it still may have ended up with a better coach than Arizona State. Edwards, who both the coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, has not coached at the college level since 1989. Arizona State also payed a hefty sum, $12 million, for Todd Graham to go away, even though the Sun Devils previous coach went 7-5 this year.
The Anderson comments can best be seen as someone in a glass house throwing a stone at another glass house.