Call it the Tauntaun Principle: If something looks like it smells bad on the outside, it probably smells twice as bad on the inside. If the Great Tennessee Coaching Search of 2018 seemed bad from a distance, it looks like it was just as bad or worse for everyone inside the process—especially for former Athletic Director John Currie, who had a documentedly bad time before being fired and replaced with Phil Fulmer.
Open records requests filed by 247 and WBIR in Knoxville cut this particular carcass open in a lot of wild ways, but we’ll try to narrow it down to the highlights out there so far. Spoiler: Does the wifi on a flight break down when John Currie can least afford it? Of course it does.
Mike Leach really was in the bag for the job. Currie flew out to LA to talk with Leach on 11/30 to talk about the job in person. On the way there, the wifi on the plane went out, leaving him out of pocket for six very, very bad hours. When he sent an email to Chancellor Beverly Davenport explaining why he went dark and where he was, he got this back.
We bolded the part where you can see him die.
Thank you for the email. I trust you are on your way back to Knoxville as I requested in my text this afternoon. This morning we tried for six hours to contact you about the state of the search. After finally connecting, you informed me that you were in California heading into a meeting with Mike Leach. This was the first I had heard of this meeting. Because of the confusion from earlier in the day with the other candidate, I asked you not to pursue any discussions about employment with any additional candidates. I would like to meet with you in my office at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (Dec. 1)to continue this discussion.
Translation: What the fuck are you doing, come back here so I can fire you. Currie had to know he was done at that point, and possibly before given the “SORRY THE WIFI WENT OUT PLEASE DON’T KILL ME” email he sends right before.
Based on that email, Currie was probably cooked before he ever got on that plane. From the looks of it, Leach was not actually the final nail in the coffin, but an extra punctuation mark on a large neon sign already spelling out FIRED!!!! serving mostly as dark comic relief along with the wifi outage. The Schiano hire collapsed, the flirtation with NC State’s Dave Doeren looks like it was never really clarified with management, and then the wifi went out and everyone panicked wondering what the hell the AD was doing while the building was on fire. Never, ever doubt the ability of wifi to own someone by going out at the worst possible moment imaginable.
Currie called Vol fans “wacko.” This is only interesting because spelling it “wacko” looks wrong to us. However, the longer we looked at “wacko” the worse it got because, after some examination, no spelling looks right, and like looking at the word “squirrel” long enough it will break our brain and undermine the very foundations of what we call meaning if we stare at it long enough.
BRADY HOKE TWEETS IN ALL CAPS JUST LIKE BRADY HOKE SHOULD. Dammit Ryan we can only hear this in the most Brady Hoke voice possible now.
“JOHN VERY SORRY TO HEAR WHAT HAS HAPPENED THIS IS THE BULL CRAP THAT COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAS BECOME. IF I CAN BE OF ANY HELP PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
It’s doubly funny that Brady Hoke can’t bring himself to cuss and instead uses “BULL CRAP.”
People send the AD the pettiest, dumbest, most trivial shit imaginable at all hours.
John Currie, like all people in management, has serious problems with technology. Problems that also allowed him to joke about the pressure and scrutiny he faced in his job, too!
Or to reset his iPhone. Spoiler: this would come in handy later, like maybe when he was busy getting ten thousand hate-messages in his inbox.
When the Schiano news broke, John Currie’s phone burst into flame. It had to. We gave up on counting them all, but the page count alone is fearsome. On 11/26/17, when the news of Greg Schiano becoming the leading candidate for the Tennessee job broke, John Currie received 335 pages worth of text messages.
To pages of angry invective:
To the guy who just dropped this in for our personal amusement and pleasure:
To the random and sort of misguided bomb threat?
There’s really no bottom to this. There are 335 pages of this, much of it happening on the evening of November 26th alone. If he threw his phone into the nearest incinerator no one could have blamed him.
The real heroes of this: The group text that added Currie just to talk about all of the shit they were going to talk about anyway. There’s a good five pages or so of these dudes adding Currie to their usual group text. Currie leaves, but the account still receives all the messages, including thoughts on bitcoin, whether Bill Simmons smokes weed or not, and most importantly, laughing at flat-earthers.
Maybe group texts are good? Maybe they’re actually good now. Go Vols.