UT CAMPUS - The University of Tennessee introduced new athletics director John Currie on Thursday afternoon.
Currie, who was the athletics director at Kansas State University since 2009, was introduced at 4:30 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. The event, which was open to the public, was also attended by Peyton Manning, Johnny Majors, Jim Haslam, and Jimmy Haslam, Several UT coaches, including football coach Butch Jones, were also in attendance.
He was introduced by UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, who said she had an instant connection with Currie. She called him honest, transparent, and high energy. She cited his history with UT and how he thrived in tough situations as elements that made him the right man for the job.
She said she wanted to hire a sitting AD at a Power 5 school. She said these jobs are complex and experience matters.
Davenport said the search committee did an amazing job in identifying candidates for AD, and they led her to Currie. In her first week on the job, she traveled to Kansas to meet with Currie and his family.
Currie said he and his family are thrilled to be back in Tennessee. He talked about the great moments he had witnessed in Tennessee history, including Coach Phillip Fulmer's decade of dominance. He said he's looking forward to winning more championships.
Currie said two of his closest friends are the AD's at Alabama and Florida and he can't wait to beat those guys.
The introduction was followed by a press conference for members of the media to ask questions of both Currie and Davenport.
Currie said his first priority when he goes to work on April 1 will be to reconnect with people he knew from his previous time at UT, and get to know folks.
He was asked about the controversy over the Lady Vols being removed from all female athletes except for women's basketball. He deflected, saying he'd only been "in this thing for about 70 hours," so he hadn't had time to form an opinion on the issue.
Currie's hire was a disappointment to some fans, who were pulling for former coach Phillip Fulmer or UTC athletic director David Blackburn. He was asked how he planned to united the fan base.
"All I can do is get out and work hard every single day," he said. "Those things will work out."
Currie begins his duties at UT on April 1. He will also serve as the school's new vice chancellor.
"It is a very exciting time for my family and me as we return to a place that remains very special to us," Currie said in a release. "We spent 10 years in Knoxville prior to taking the job at K-State, and I appreciate Chancellor Davenport and the University of Tennessee for providing us this special opportunity.
"As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I know how much UT athletics means to the people in the state, and I look forward to serving all of the Big Orange Nation, its wonderful coaches, staff and student-athletes, for many years to come. We are excited to return to Rocky Top."
The details of Currie's contract are not immediately known. He received a five-year contract at a base salary of $350,000 per year when KSU hired him in 2009.
Currie replaces Dave Hart, who announced his retirement last August.
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