The University of Tennessee released documents last night which showed texts and emails from now former AD John Currie during the tumultuous coaching search. These documents have confirmed some suspicions that we’ve had, but they have also given us new information about what the initial plan was to find Tennessee’s next football coach.
According to the documents, Dan Mullen was the first person to be contacted by John Currie.
Currie’s first contact was with Mullen. Clint Dowdle, who works for agency CAA Sports, told Currie on the night of Nov. 22 that Mullen wanted to set a time to talk to Currie two days later, the Friday morning after Mississippi State’s regular-season finale against Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night. (Via GoVols247)
Consider the timeline here. Florida was reportedly in pursuit of Chip Kelly, who decided to turn them down and head out west to UCLA on that Saturday, the 25th. On November 19th, we speculated that the UCLA job opening could change things in a big way for Currie. It certainly seems like it did just that as Florida quickly pivoted to Mullen.
Just before noon on Saturday, Nov. 25, Mullen messaged Currie: “Good luck today. Talked with Peyton last night. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
According to the messages, Currie told Dowdle to sent Mullen a memorandum of understanding, and the two appeared to have contact scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26, but his last message to Mullen on the night of Nov. 25 -- “So tomorrow work?” -- went unanswered.
Mullen was hired on Florida’s coach that Sunday. (Via GoVols247)
With Mullen off the table, Currie went to his backup plan in Greg Schiano. We all know how that turned out.
Interestingly enough, the documents revealed that Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson had his representatives reach out to Currie to express interest in the job. Les Miles, the former head coach of LSU, had a friend reach out to Currie to express interest.
Even Brady Hoke took one last shot at landing the job, sending an all-caps text to Currie.
“JOHN I HOPE YOU DO KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO BE YOUR HEAD FOOTBALL COACH I DO KNOW THE ENVIRONMENT WE LIVE IN AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AT TENNESSEE!”
Read the full details of the release at GoVols247. It’s absolutely fascinating stuff that every Tennessee fan needs to sift through.