KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Former Tennessee athletic director John Currie has reached a settlement with the school and will be paid $2.5 million, according to a report by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Currie, who was suspended and replaced by current Vols athletic director Phillip Fulmer on Dec. 1, had his employment end at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The settlement amount represents about half of what Currie would have been owed had he received the full buyout terms.
Currie’s tenure came into question after a hiring snafu involving Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
Schiano and Currie signed a memorandum of understanding for the one-time Rutgers head coach to receive a 6-year contract on Nov. 26, but word leaked and Tennessee fans revolted on social media and protested on campus.
Neither UT chancellor Beverly Davenport nor UT CFO David Miller signed the memorandum of understanding, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal report.
SEC Country reported on Nov. 23 that Currie was considering Schiano and Washington State coach Mike Leach for the Vols football coaching position.
Two days later, the Schiano hire was being reported on the web, triggering the very negative, very rapid response from Tennessee fans.
Currie had fired former coach Butch Jones on Nov. 12, the day after Tennessee suffered a 50-17 road defeat at Missouri.
The Vols’ football coaching search took many turns from there.
There were well-publicized rejections from Oklahoma State Mike Gundy, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm and North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren.
Currie, whose search team reportedly included Peyton Manning and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, was reportedly trying to meet with Leach in Los Angeles on Nov. 30 when he was called back to Knoxville by Davenport.
Davenport subsequently suspended Currie.
“Early [Thursday] afternoon I asked John Currie to return to Knoxville before going forward with the search,” Davenport said on Dec. 1.
“This morning I decided to make a change in leadership in our athletics department — the decision I felt was in the best interest of our university. John Currie has been suspended and Phillip Fulmer has agreed to step in as the athletic director.”
Matthew Scoggins, UT’s general counsel, announced the settlement at the Board of Trustees meeting in Memphis on Thursday afternoon.
Fulmer hired current Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt on Dec. 7, just six days after taking control of the athletic department.
Fulmer spoke to former Tennessee national championship quarterback and Southern Cal offensive coordinator Tee Martin on the phone, but he did not interview him in person.
But the only coaches Fulmer saw fit to give more than one interview in Knoxville were Pruitt, Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
The Vols opened spring drills on Tuesday and held their second practice on Thursday.
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