Tennessee officially hires Phillip Fulmer as athletic director

Tennessee has officially hired former coach Phillip Fulmer as its athletic director, according to a statement from chancellor Beverly Davenport released Friday afternoon.

“Phillip Fulmer will begin serving as athletic director effective immediately,” Davenport said in the statement. “I have taken these steps in the best interest of the university.

“I am confident that Phillip understands the need to support our student-athletes and our commitment to excellence in all athletic programs. I appreciate his willingness to serve during this critical time. No one better understands the storied history of Vol athletics and its deep connection to alumni and fans, and I believe he will be a unifying presence for all of us committed to the university’s success.”

Tennessee fired John Currie after only eight months on the job earlier Friday morning.

Knoxville has been in a state of chaos this week as Currie searched for a new head coach. The Vols cycled through at least a dozen candidates before Currie was relieved of his duties.

That list includes coaches like Jon GrudenGreg Schiano, David Cutcliffe and Mike Gundy. Dave Doeren, Jeff Brohm, Jim Bob Cooter and Mike Leach. The Vols were also reportedly interested in Chip Kelly, Dan Mullen, Scott Frost, Kevin Sumlin and Chad Morris.

Washington State coach Mike Leach reportedly agreed to terms with Currie, but that deal was blocked by Fulmer and certain members of Tennessee’s administration. Currie was asked to return to Knoxville and was promptly fired the next morning.

College football insider Brett McMurphy reported that members Tennessee’s athletic department began sabotaging Currie’s efforts to hire a coach in the days after the Greg Schiano debacle.

Fulmer was the head coach of the Volunteers for their 1998 National Championship run. In total, he was the coach for 17 seasons and led the Vols to 152-52 record while winning a pair of SEC Championships.