Tennessee hired Kansas State’s John Currie as its new athletic director, ending Currie’s tenure of almost eight years in Manhattan.
The Volunteers announced the hire Tuesday afternoon. He will begin his new job April 1.
Currie has served as K-State’s athletic director since May 2009. He came to Manhattan after working for several years as an administrator within Tennessee’s athletic department.
“Words cannot express how grateful our family is for the time and experience we have had here at K-State and in the Manhattan community,” Currie said in a release. “Tennessee reached out to me earlier this week and encouraged me to visit with Chancellor (Beverly) Davenport about the position. It was evident early in our discussion that she has a tremendous vision for the university, and I am excited to be a part of her leadership team.”
K-State deputy athletic director Laird Veatch, a former K-State football player, will take over as acting athletic director.
The Wildcats have no timetable for selecting a permanent replacement for Currie, but Veatch is expected to be strongly considered for the full-time job whenever it is filled, a K-State source said.
Currie leaves behind a fascinating legacy at K-State.
During his eight years, he boosted fundraising and transformed the appearance of K-State’s athletic facilities. The Wildcats built $210 million worth of new facilities. Most notably, they spent more than $100 million worth of renovations into Bill Snyder Family Stadium in the form of the West Stadium Center and the Vanier Football Complex. The additions gave K-State players a state-of-the-art facility to train and work between games, and fans a lavish place to watch games.
K-State also built a basketball training facility during Currie’s time, as well as a new rowing center and a tennis stadium.
The Wildcats had their fair share of wins under Currie, as well. No more so than in 2012-13, when the Wildcats claimed Big 12 championships in baseball, men’s basketball and football.
“From when I arrived at K-State back in 2009, I have experienced some of the most enjoyable moments in my life, filled with some of the most genuine and caring people I have ever met,” Currie said in the release. “As I have said so many times, the collective group of head coaches we have here rival those of any in all of college athletics. Our primary goal has been to provide a world-class student-athlete experience, and I know we have made tremendous progress in this arena.”
But some will remember Currie more for his rift with former men’s basketball coach Frank Martin. He left K-State for South Carolina in 2012 after an impressive five-year run with the Wildcats, which included four trips to the NCAA Tournament and one run to the Elite Eight, for many reasons, the most publicized of which was his poor working relationship with Currie.
Currie replaced Martin with current coach Bruce Weber, who got off to a strong start but has faded since. It appeared Currie would soon have to make a decision on whether to bring back Weber, who has missed the last two postseasons, for a sixth year, but that choice will seemingly fall on Veatch.
A new athletic director will also help guide the transition to a new football coach, whenever 77-year-old Bill Snyder decides to retire.
Several people in college administration have K-State ties and would be logical candidates: Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt (a former K-State football player); Texas Tech deputy athletic director Chad Weiberg (a former K-State administrator); former high-ranking K-State athletic officials Reid Sigmon (Chief Financial Officer for the College Football Playoff) and Clint Dowdle (a member of the coaching division within Creative Artists Agency).
Kellis Robinett: @KellisRobinett