Former Tennessee All-American and NFL football offensive lineman Antone Davis claims to have resigned from his position as UT’s VFL coordinator earlier this week due to “constant intimidation, bullying and mental abuse” from Tennessee coach Butch Jones, according to WNML‘s Jimmy Hyams.
WNML obtained Davis’ letter of resignation email to athletic director John Currie, in which he said, “I had always dreamed of coming back and being able to contribute to the continued success of the athletic program.’’
However, the former offensive lineman said that working under Jones “has been one of the worst work experiences I have ever had.’’
The coach responded in an issued a statement through UT sports information director Zach Stipe: “I wish Antone Davis well and thank him for his work as Tennessee’s Vol For Life Coordinator.’’
Davis also noted that he hadn’t received a merit raise despite having “outstanding performance reviews,’’ although Hyams reported that he had been given the university’s mandatory 1.5 to 3 percent raise previously, which raised his salary to about $69,000.
A source also told WNML that Jones reportedly went to the administration previously and asked for a raise for Davis, unbeknownst to the former player, which was denied.
Davis submitted a letter of resignation to UT on Wednesday morning, which was initially reported by GoVols247, who also noted that the former lineman’s bio has been taken off UTSports.com after stepping down from the position.
According to sources, Davis believed that he was working in a hostile environment and is expected to pursue a career outside of athletics. The former coordinator was reportedly told to drive to and from road games when he traveled during the 2017 season, rather than flying with the team as he did in previous years, according to the report. Additionally, he was reportedly only allowed to travel if he planned his own trip, according to sources.
Davis concluded his resignation email with the following: “I wish you and the men of the University of Tennessee football team nothing but success as you forge ahead in trying to drive the program toward its next national championship.’’
The former VFL coordinator also sent a separate email to Currie in which he noted his concerns dating back to as early as Sept. 22.
“I want you to know that I am not leaving Tennessee because I want to,’’ Davis wrote in the email. “I am leaving because I must. My biggest regret and fear is that I am leaving behind student-athletes and co-workers that may be subjected to the same treatment I have received.’’
Davis added: “In closing, I deeply regret that things have been allowed to transpire, causing a high level of anxiety and other health issues thus creating my need to resign.’’
Currie, who claimed that he planned on expanding Davis’ role, responded by saying: `While I am very sorry that you are leaving us, I am glad that you have been able to find a position you are excited about …”
He added: “Antone, I appreciate your efforts on behalf of the athletics program and Volunteer student-athletes and look forward to staying in touch.’’
Davis was a two-time first-team All-SEC offensive tackle during his college career, which spanned from 1986-90. He was selected eighth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1991 and spent seven seasons in the NFL.