AD White seeks coach to help polish Vols’ ‘brand’

Danny White is embracing the chance Tennessee is giving him to rebuild a Energy 5 program, and never even the prospect of potential NCAA punishment deterred him from taking the athletic director job.

“I’ve never worked at the big-brand place until now, and I actually like the fact that the brand needs to be polished a little bit, needs to be elevated back to where it was just not too long ago,” White stated at his introductory information convention Friday.

Tennessee employed White, 41, Thursday as its fourth athletic director since Dave Hart took over in September 2011.

White signed a five-year contract that can mechanically roll over annually in order that the remaining time period shall all the time be for 5 years. His common annual rollover wage will make him the highest-paid athletic director within the SEC.

White’s first job is hiring a brand new soccer coach with the Volunteers within the midst of inside and NCAA investigations into recruiting points that price coach Jeremy Pruitt, two assistant coaches and 7 others their jobs Monday.

Chancellor Donde Plowman didn’t have an estimate for when Tennessee’s personal investigation will probably be accomplished. White stated he has a long-term view for his third program as athletic director.

“Nothing’s insurmountable,” White stated. “We can get through this, and we’ll get through it the right way and we’ll get the program back to where it needs to be.”

Tennessee is paying White a beginning wage of $1.eight million a yr and an annual pay hike of 5%, twice the $900,000 base pay for retiring AD Phillip Fulmer. White additionally will probably be eligible for as much as $300,000 yearly for crew athletic efficiency, educational efficiency and operational targets within the five-year deal.

White signed a five-year contract at UCF in March 2020 that paid him greater than $1 million a yr, and Tennessee pays the $2.5 million buyout for his leaving earlier than Could 11, 2021.

He stated that everybody is a candidate and that he will probably be transferring “quickly” to rent a brand new coach. White deliberate to fulfill with as much as 9 members of the soccer crew and in addition had a gathering with performing head coach Kevin Steele later Friday.

White cited his personal hiring as how rapidly he would possibly transfer; he was employed simply three days after Tennessee introduced Pruitt’s firing and Fulmer’s departure.

Plowman spent Monday evening and Tuesday speaking with individuals linked to Tennessee about what to search for within the subsequent athletic director. She stated that Peyton Manning requested Duke coach David Cutcliffe on recommendation he may give Plowman and that Cutcliffe advisable somebody like Duke AD Kevin White, Danny White’s father.

The Tennessee chancellor interviewed Danny White on Tuesday evening through Zoom, then interviewed him once more Wednesday with the college system president, Randy Boyd, and the chairman of the board of trustees, John Compton. They flew to Orlando, Florida, and met with White that evening, then introduced his hiring Thursday.

“It was clear who the top candidate was,” Plowman stated. “It was Danny White.”

UCF employed White in November 2015, and his first job then was hiring a soccer coach. Scott Frost was so profitable he left for Nebraska after going 13-Zero in 2017, then White employed Josh Heupel. The UCF males’s basketball crew made the 2019 NCAA match and misplaced 77-76 to Duke within the second spherical.

As athletic director at Buffalo between Could 2012 and December 2015, White employed Bobby Hurley, who took Buffalo to its first NCAA match, after which Nate Oats, now at Alabama, continued that success. In soccer, White employed Lance Leipold, who led Buffalo to its first rating this season, and it completed No. 25.

White additionally has labored at Mississippi, Fresno State and Northern Illinois. His brother Mike is head coach of Florida’s males’s basketball crew. His brother Brian is athletic director at Florida Atlantic, and his sister Mariah Chappell is assistant athletic director for administration at SMU.

He stated Tennessee needs to be aggressive to get its athletic division the place it belongs.

“We can compete,” White stated. “This place has already shown, and is showing in many sports, we can compete for Southeastern Conference championships, which means we can compete for national championships. And in the future, we want to do a whole lot more of that.”

— ESPN’s Chris Low contributed to this report.

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