It was Monday when Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman and President Randy Boyd announced that they wanted to get a new athletic director in place before hiring a football coach. Well, that time as come, the University has hired UCF AD Danny White, after Phillip Fulmer relinquished the position.
According to Tennessee, AD Danny White will make $1.8 Million per year, with an annual increase of 5%. He will be eligible to receive up to $300,000 annually in performance based bonuses.
The buyout for Danny White was $2.5 Million if he left before May 11th, 2021. The length and start date of the contract with Tennessee has yet to be released, but a spokesman had the following to say when asked about those details.
“His immediate focus will be hiring UT’s next head football coach.”
Buffalo hired White in 2012, where he had tremendous success at his first stop as an AD through 2015. He is no stranger to the southeastern conference, as he worked at Ole Miss from 2009-2012. The Notre Dame graduate has family all over the country working in athletic departments.
Tennessee made it official on Thursday afternoon, as Chancellor Donde Plowman released a statement.
“Danny White is an innovative leader in college athletics with a strong track record in recruiting and developing leaders. He brings the combination of winning attitude, competitive drive, and dedication to integrity and academics that we are looking for.”
Plowman continued, “We undertook this search with urgency and found strong interest from a robust candidate pool, enabling us to act quickly and with great confidence. I’m proud to say we found our leader, and I’d like to thank President Boyd, our trustees, and our staff for their support and hard work.”
Tennessee’s new AD also released a statement of his own.
“I am thrilled to be headed to Knoxville and to a university with a great competitive tradition and a spirited and devoted fan base. Volunteer fans have an expectation to win, and my first task will be taking on the search for a new head football coach. But I want all Vols to know that I am deeply committed to excellence in all of our athletic programs.”
His brother is Mike White, the current basketball coach for the Florida Gators. His father is long time Duke AD Kevin White and his other brother Brian works in the athletic department at Florida Atlantic.
Danny White was named the Athletic Director at UCF in 2015, leading the Golden Knights to massive success from the marketing department to the football field. White has hired Scott Frost and Josh Huepel during his time in Orlando, while also setting records when it comes to season ticket sales in football. Lets also not forget the deal they struck with Nike, which will be a nice relationship to keep up with at Tennessee.
The University of Central Florida has grown their reputation within the athletic world over the past five years thanks to fantastic multimedia coverage and the success of their athletic programs. He brings a strong pedigree to the position, which will suit Tennessee well.
The fact Tennessee moved as quick as possible to get this deal done, shows how important it is for the Vols to get their next football hire done correctly as well. This should also signal that the Vols will not be looking to use 2021 as a throwaway year with Kevin Steele.
According to sources, Donde Plowman and Randy Boyd were in Orlando on Wednesday night finalizing the deal, after having a few virtual meetings. The Vols had their man from the jump, as shown by the money they were willing to spend on the hire. Thursday’s announcement was very big for the future of Tennessee, both on and off the playing fields.
Tennessee is still in the process of dealing with the ongoing investigation, which will make the process that much harder for Danny White. But as one source put it to me, they think White is the guy who can come in and shake things up, while rebuilding a fractured situation. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone how big his hires were at Buffalo, bringing in Bobby Hurley and Nate Oats for basketball and Lance Leipold for football.
The success that Danny White has shown over the past eight plus years should be a welcomed sign for Tennessee fans. The magnitude of this hire cannot be overstated and one that should change the trajectory of the athletic department, though it will take time.
Tennessee desperately needed to find an athletic director who could lead them in all sports and not worry about being a face for a program, which is exactly what they’re getting with Danny White.
Today’s hiring should be met with excitement from people associated with Tennessee and the fans that cheer the program. This will be a hire everyone can rally around and trust. The Chancellor and President did good by the University this week, with the hiring of Danny White being the first step in getting things back on track.
It’s going to be a long road, but Tennessee Athletics are in much better hands now. The next question will be who Tennessee goes after as their head football coach. This will be the most important hire they’ve had to make since firing Phillip Fulmer, so many years ago.
Thursday was a good day for the Vols, so they should take it one day at a time.