John Currie has been silent for a long time.
But after months of silence, Tennessee’s new athletic director poked his head out on Sunday by making his biggest announcement yet, only to crawl back into the abyss.
With the firing of Butch Jones early Sunday morning, Currie sent shockwaves throughout the college football world. At his press conference, the details of the firing were laid out.
According to the man himself, the decision between he and Jones was mutual. After losing to Missouri 50-17 on Saturday night, Currie knew that it was time to pull the trigger and resurrect Tennessee back from the dead (again).
However, he isn’t hiring a search firm, and after he uttered his final words at Sunday’s press conference, Currie has entered a period of silence where his “sole focus” will be finding Tennessee’s next head football coach.
While a portion of the Volunteer fan base had grown weary of Currie for not firing Jones earlier in the season, fans should be optimistic about what’s in store on the horizon.
Even though Jones’ buyout is roughly $8 million (with the entire coaching staff being around $13 million should Tennessee not retain every coach), Currie understands the resources available in Knoxville. That’s why, when pressed on if money would be an issue regarding the coaching search, he never claimed it was a problem.
Instead, Currie spent considerable time Sunday praising both the University and the entire city of Knoxville, which emphasizes the point that absolutely nothing is holding back Tennessee from making a home-run hire. It’s painfully obvious that this job is one of the most coveted jobs in all of college football. It’s understood that being 4-6 with an 0-6 record in conference play that includes a trio of losses to South Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri is unacceptable.
Furthermore, with Currie opting to NOT hire a search firm (at least, for the time being), he’s putting the magnitude of this hire squarely on his shoulders. Given that he never hired a coach at Kansas State — which has more to do with Bill Snyder being untouchable than anything else — Currie is entering unchartered waters here. However, his level of confidence in himself signals he has a concise list of names in his back pocket.
It’s taken much longer than it should have, but the time for Tennessee fans to rejoice is finally here. The awful taste of the Butch Jones era will take time to wash away, but with Currie hell-bent on making the appropriate hire, the Vols aren’t far away from brighter days.