In the wake of an embarrassing botched coaching hire and subsequent fan protest, Tennessee is reportedly limiting athletic director John Currie’s role as it continues its coaching search and will instead rely on two of the most beloved figures in program history.
Former quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach Phillip Fulmer — along with UT president Joe DiPierto — are reportedly taking on “greater active roles” as the Vols attempt to negotiate with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, among other candidates, according to Gridiron Now‘s John Brice.
“Aside from Gundy, college football sources in the SEC said that UT spoke by phone again with Brohm, enlisting a greater active role from both Peyton Manning and Phillip Fulmer, on the heels of the Vols’ near-introduction and signed agreement to name Greg Schiano as next head coach. Fulmer, Manning and UT President Dr. Joe DiPietro all, per sources, have assumed more active roles in the wake of the Currie-Beverly Davenport-Jimmy Haslam fiasco that nearly led to Schiano’s introduction on Sunday.”
After a tumultuous attempted hire of Greg Schiano on Sunday and being turned down by several other candidates, Tennessee has reportedly turned its search to Gundy, according to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman.
Gundy, an Oklahoma native and Oklahoma State alum, has spent the majority of his career working in his home state.
He currently holds a 113-53 (69-42 Big 12) overall record, which includes going 7-4 in bowl games and a Big 12 championship in 2011.
The former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach had previously worked as a defensive assistant at Penn State under former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of child molestation stemming from his tenure with the Nittany Lions in 2012.
According to a report, Schiano allegedly knew of Sandusky’s sexual abuse and turned a blind eye, according to testimony from former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary that was unsealed in 2016 by a Philadelphia court.
Schiano has denied the allegations in the past, having told ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “I never saw any abuse nor had reason to suspect any abuse during my time at Penn State.”