Tennessee moved quickly to find its next athletic director.
A few days after the school announced the retirement of Phillip Fulmer and the firing of Jeremy Pruitt under the cloud of internal and NCAA investigations, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel can confirm that UCF’s Danny White has finalized a deal to become Tennessee’s next athletic director. USA Today first reported the news.
At Tennessee, White’s first order of business will be to hire a new football coach. UT’s administration brought in former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to serve as acting head coach after the firing of Pruitt.
Despite Steele’s presence, White is expected to begin the search for a new coach immediately. He has a strong record of hiring successful coaches.
When White became the athletic director at UCF in 2015, he led an unparalleled level of success for the Knights, specifically in football. White hired Scott Frost as UCF’s head coach in December 2015. Frost inherited a program that went winless the previous season and coached the Knights to an undefeated record in his second season.
After UCF capped off that season by beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl to finish 13-0, White infamously declared UCF as the national champions despite the Knights finishing No. 12 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. During his time at UCF, White often voiced his displeasure with the CFP system that has continually excluded top teams from the Group of Five conferences.
When Frost left UCF to coach Nebraska, his alma mater, White hired Josh Heupel to run the program. Heupel has a 28-8 record over his three seasons at UCF.
At Buffalo, White hired Lance Leipold, a six-time national champion at the Division III level. He also brought in Bobby Hurley and Nate Oats to coach UB’s men’s basketball team. Both Hurley and Oats subsequently moved on to Power Five jobs (at Arizona State and Alabama, respectively) after successful tenures coaching the Bulls.
White, the son of longtime Duke athletic director Kevin White, signed a five-year contract to remain at UCF back in March, but Thamel is reporting that Tennessee “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
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