For Pete's Sake

Former K-State AD John Currie being ridiculed for Tennessee football’s ‘hot mess’

University of Tennessee athletic director John Currie.
University of Tennessee athletic director John Currie. The Associated Press

Former Kansas State athletic director John Currie’s first year in the same role at Tennessee hit a major speed bump over the weekend.

Currie, who fired Volunteers football coach Butch Jones earlier this month, reportedly was set to hire former Rutgers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, who is Ohio State’s defensive coordinator.

However, when word leaked of the impending decision, Vols fans and boosters revolted, citing Schiano’s past ties to Penn State and the child rape scandal, which resulted in former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky being sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Currie has been the roundly criticized in the wake of the failed hire. On Monday, Currie backed out of a scheduled appearance at the Knoxville Quarterback Club, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Columnist John Adams of the Knoxville News Sentinel wrote that Currie didn’t do his homework on Schiano:

“Currie reportedly headed up a small search team, which includes former UT quarterback Peyton Manning,” Adams wrote. “If Currie had employed a search firm, it would have done the research that Currie didn’t.

“All he had to do was check ‘Wikipedia.’ Instead, Currie and the Schiano family reportedly were blindsided by the reaction to Schiano’s potential hiring.

“It’s not crucial that you win the press conference when you make a new hire. But it is crucial you don’t have to answer questions about a pedophile trial.”

On Monday, Currie released a statement saying he had “carefully interviewed and vetted” Schiano. But that wasn’t good enough for some boosters, who reportedly want Currie fired.

A Tennessee source told Sports Illustrated that things somehow had gotten worse after the Volunteers finished 4-8 this season.

“This is such a hot mess,” the source told Sports Illustrated. “Just when you think they’ve gotten out of the ditch. They’ve fallen into a much bigger one.”

ESPN’s Paul Finebaum called Currie’s decision to remove the offer to Schiano a “spineless move.”

Jon Morse, writing for the Kansas State fan blog “Bring On The Cats,” wrote a post with the headline “Kansas State fans get to feel some schadenfreude at Tennessee’s expense.”

“After watching the carnage in Knoxville yesterday, we should all be thanking whatever deity we worship that John Currie left before being able to oversee the hiring of Bill Snyder’s eventual replacement,” Morse wrote.

“Of course, we’ve already had reports that he tried to bungle it anyway, even with Snyder still under the university’s employ. But yesterday’s clownshow at Tennessee serves as a glaring reminder that K-State’s former athletic director simply has no idea what he’s doing.”

Some Kansas State fans on Twitter didn’t hold back in their criticism, either.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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