Tennessee hires Phillip Fulmer as athletic director

Phillip Fulmer will take over as Tennessee athletic director, the university announced Friday in a release.

Tennessee hires Phillip Fulmer as athletic director

Tennessee hires Phillip Fulmer as athletic director

"No one better understands the storied history of Vol athletics and its deep connection to alumni and fans, and I believe he will be a unifying presence for all of us committed to the university's success," Tennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport said in the university's release.

Fulmer was announced by Davenport as "acting athletic director." On Friday, ESPN reported that Fulmer is receiving a two-year contract.

MORE: Tennessee's coaching search timeline

Previous athletic director John Currie was fired earlier Friday as the program's search for a head football coach continues. A deal to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano fell through after fan protest caused talks to break down. The Volunteers also went after Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and N.C. State coach Dave Doeren.

College football reporter Brett McMurphy reported Friday that Currie was prepared to name Washington State's Mike Leach the new head coach at Tennessee, but that Fulmer had been trying to stop that from happening in an effort to take the AD position.

Fulmer previously served as a special advisor to the Tennessee president before being hired as AD. He was a Hall of Fame coach at Tennessee and is the second-winningest coach in program history. He went 152-52 in 17 years at the helm and won the national championship in 1998.

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