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Report: Tennessee hiring UCF’s Danny White as next athletics director

A big time move.

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Navy at Central Florida Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Big news coming from VolQuest this Thursday afternoon. Per Brent Hubbs, Tennessee is ‘zeroing in’ on Central Florida athletics director Danny White to replace Phillip Fulmer.

USA Today is now reporting that the deal is happening.

White has been in the spotlight during UCF’s rise over the last several years through the college football landscape. He was vocal about his program not getting a shot to play in the college football playoff following an undefeated season, and he’s also traded blows with Florida AD Scott Stricklin over 2-for-1 non-conference scheduling.

White took over the UCF AD post in 2015, immediately fixing the football program, which went winless in 2015. White did that by hiring Scott Frost, who went 19-7 overall, leading the Golden Knights to an undefeated season in 2017. White hired Josh Heupel as his replacement, who has been able to sustain success since.

Before UCF, White spent time as the Buffalo AD, hiring Lance Leipold and Nate Oats. He played basketball at Notre Dame in 2001-02, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He later earned his masters in business and sports administration from Ohio University, before completing his doctorate degree at Ole Miss. White spent time working in the Ole Miss administration before taking the job at Buffalo.

White is now tasked with fixing another football program — one that could potentially be facing NCAA sanctions and has already experienced a mass exodus of talent over the past several weeks.

Kevin Steele is currently the interim head coach, but a move that is this aggressive from Tennessee would seem to suggest that they won’t be content with simply punting with Steele for the 2021 season.

Tennessee has had zero stability at the AD post since the days of Mike Hamilton. Consequently, among other factors of course, the football program has struggled during that same timeframe. Hiring White is a power move for Tennessee — one that will likely come with a hefty price tag. But frankly, it was a move that was long overdue.

White signed a new deal with Central Florida last year that would pay him $1 million annually. That came with a buyout of $2.5 million if he left before May of 2021. Tennessee is making a big time financial commitment here, and it’s difficult not to be excited about the thought of an established, experienced administrative leader finally heading up the athletics department.