Detailing the John Currie saga
There is finally closure to the John Currie Era.
On Thursday, Currie and the University reached a 2.5 million dollar settlement with payment due in April.
In announcing the settlement, Tennessee also released documents that cleared up some of the timelines and coorespondence or lack there of during the search. The released documents are long and plentiful, but here are some of the highlights as we sort through them.
On November 22nd, Currie made it clear how secretive he wanted to keep things when he told University Chancellor Beverly Davenport that he would not return Board of Trustees head Raja Jubron's call after Jubron left a message wanting an update on the search. Currie told Davenport that he knew it was a tough spot to put her in, but that he “would deliver.”
On Thanksgiving, Jimmy Sexton's assistant Clint Dowdle and John Currie communicated via direct message to set up a Friday time to talk with Dan Mullen. Mullen and Peyton Manning also talked on Friday. Saturday morning (prior to Vanderbilt-Tennessee game) Mullen sent Currie a message wishing him luck, confirming the talk with Peyton and told Currie he looked forward to seeing him on Sunday.
Meanwhile on that Saturday, Currie messaged Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy asking him if a Monday meeting in Oklahoma City would still work. Gundy replied a minute later, “yes.”
Nine minutes later, Mullen responded yes to visiting with Currie on Sunday morning. But the two never met.
Currie also communicated with Greg Schiano on that Saturday as well. Asking Schiano at 5:52 p.m. “if he should still head north.”
On Sunday morning, Currie was desperately trying to get approval from University President Joe DiPietro.
Currie texted Chancellor Davenport at 12:32am informing her that he had a tenative deal in place (meaning Currie and Schiano spoke/visited Saturday night). Currie told Davenport he was just awaiting work from her/Prez. At 5:58 a.m., Currie texted Davenport again asking if she had heard from President DiPietro. At 7:03 a.m., he followed up with “any word?.”
Davenport said that the President wanted to talk after 10 a.m. Currie again followed up with “any word.” Davenport said the she couldn't get DiPietro to answer. After offering to “get on the phone” with her, Currie again texted “any word.” Davenport said that DiPietro was at mass which Currie said “good. Schiano is a devout Catholic.”
Everyone knows how the rest of the day unfolded with fan outage and multiple donors emailing concerns to Davenport, DiPietro and Board of Trustee members.
At 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, Currie sent Schiano a message that he was “here now.” At 3:40 p.m., Currie asked Schiano if he could make a 7:15 p.m. depature. Schiano said he thought he could.
On Monday, Currie communicated multiple times with Gundy setting up a time to meet. Currie and Gundy met briefly Monday night the 27th, then again on the morning of the 28th. On the 27th, Currie also began communicating with NC State's Dave Doeren's agent.
At one point, Currie asked if they could come pick up Doeren and bring him to Phillip Fulmer's house to talk. That didn't happen because Currie hadn't talked to NC State AD Debbie Yow. They met in North Carolina instead.
On the evening of the 28th, Currie informed Doeren's people that Gundy was out and that Doeren was the guy. Currie and Doeren met according to messages and Doeren's agent appeared ready to get the deal done when Currie when silent on him.
Doeren's agent on November 30th sent Currie a message just before 10 a.m. saying, “Really need to hear from you.” Nearly 8 hours earlier, Currie had reached out to Mike Leach for the first time asking he they could talk.
After first contacting Leach at 4 a.m. EST., 13 hours later, Currie was in LA meeting up with Leach. It was at that point Currie was asked to come home. Leach messaged Currie at midnight on December 1st – “I just landed. It was great to meet and talk to you. You’re a good man and I hope you come out of this ok and we can work together.”
Leach was aware of the issues Currie had with Chancellor Davenport and President DiPietro. At 4:14 p.m. on November 30th while Currie was in LA, Currie tells the administration that Leach wants the job. At 4:26 p.m., Davenport tells Currie he needs to come home. Currie asks Davenport what he should tell Leach, Davenport said, “Tell him you have nothing more you can talk with him about.”
DiPietro texts Currie – “We (him and Davenport) have discussed and feel it's best to not pursue anyone at this time. Come home get some rest and regroup and talk about how to move forward with the search.”
At 4:55 p.m., Currie sent the following email to Davenport and DiPietro:
Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 4:56:39 PM
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 4:55:44 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: John Currie
To: Scoggins, Matthew, bdavenll, dipietro
All: I have been trying to call for 45 minutes to discuss situation but I understand from the text that I have been instructed to end my visit with Coach Leach and return to Knoxville.
I am not sure I can get a flight tonight but I will head to the airport as soon as I talk to and let him know. Although I have not offered the job or discussed terms with him, he told me that he would take the job if offered. Matthew know how to follow up with his agent Gary O'Hagan. He would make an excellent choice.
I am very sorry for the stress I caused by the Witi outage on the Delta flight. I had every intention of being able to communicate and that we could still get DD deal done while I was traveling but without an immediate answer, the negative social media assaults against him and and the media news of their negotiating with NCSU, I was concerned that I needed to be in position to meet with other candidate including Coach Leach who's was in LA recruiting. This presented an opportunity for a quick meeting, as there are direct fiights from RDU.
I apologize to all involved.
Notably, Currie flew home on a Kansas State donors' jet, was picked up by a couple of his friends and is placed on leave (effectively fired) hours later in Davenport's office.