New Vols AD on Fulmer, Lady Vols, and more

WBIR 10Sports Anchor Patrick Murray sits down with newly hired Vols AD John Currie to discuss a variety of topics including his childhood in North Carolina and his relationship with Phillip Fulmer.

KNOXVILLE - John Currie was introduced as Tennessee's athletics director on Thursday afternoon.

Friday morning, he sat down with WBIR 10Sports Anchor Patrick Murray for a one-on-one interview.

Currie previously worked in the Tennessee athletics department from 1997-2009, before becoming the AD at Kansas State and counts many prominent UT figures among the major influences in his career.

"Here at the University of Tennessee, people like Joan Cronan and Doug Dickey. I always talked about how I got to work with Hall of Fame coaches here like Pat Summitt and Phillip Fulmer. I got to know different coaches from all different sports here," Currie said.

MORE: Full interview transcript

Dickey was the athletics director at Tennessee from 1985 to 2002 and hired Currie at UT in 1997. He was also the head football coach in the 1960s and is credited with developing many of Tennessee's traditions including running through the T, the checkerboard endzones and the "Power T" on the side of the helmets.

Cronan served as the women's athletics director for 29 years until 2012.

"(UT President Emeritus) Dr. (Joe) Johnson has always been an influence on me," Currie added.

"He signed my diploma and I had a note from him when I came in yesterday, which was pretty awesome. Around the country, people like (Wake Forest AD) Ron Wellman really provided me my ethical compass, as it relates to doing the right thing all the time. In my first job, that was very important to me."

Currie earned his bachelor's degree at Wake Forest and worked there under Wellman from 1994 to 1997.

RELATIONSHIP WITH FULMER

Many fans, former players and people in the UT community were unhappy with Currie's hiring or how the hiring was handled for various reasons, some of which involved former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer.

Fulmer was a candidate for the athletics director position and pushed hard for the job.

Currie was part of the regime that pushed Fulmer out as head coach in 2008.

"I have tremendous respect for Phillip Fulmer," Currie told WBIR.

"He led Tennessee football to the greatest era of football success in really the modern era of Tennessee football. A national championship, those things are hard to win. They are hard, hard, hard to win. That was certainly a pinnacle moment for the university. But more than anything, that era, that decade of dominance, represents a time in Tennessee’s history where all the arrows were going in the same direction. People had kind of locked arms and were marching forward. When we do that at the University of Tennessee, together, there’s nothing we can’t do."

"Coach Fulmer’s going to be a part of our program in whatever way possible. He’s a very special person, and I’m looking forward to, as we have time, to connecting and getting together," Currie said.

LADY VOLS NAME CHANGE

A hot topic among many Tennessee fans is the Lady Vols moniker. The "Lady" was removed, changing the name to just "Vols" for every women's team except for basketball in 2015. 

Currie hasn't had much time to consider the issue since he was just hired this week but feels women's sports are important.

"I understand how passionate people are about the Lady Vols," Currie told WBIR.

"Tennessee is a leader in women’s athletics and is really the leader in women’s athletics. There are literally millions of young women and girls around the country who have been exposed to athletics and have had athletic opportunities because of the leadership role Tennessee took. So, we’ll get down the road a little bit and start looking at different things around the university and the department, be a good listener, and see where we go."

Currie is expected to officially begin his role as vice chancellor and director of athletics on April 1, which is also his 46th birthday.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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