The Tennessee Volunteers have found their new athletic director. After current athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced that he would be retiring from the position on Monday, the university began their search for his replacement. In the same press conference that Fulmer announced his retirement, the university leadership announced they would be firing former football head coach Jeremy Pruitt, as well as that they looked to hire a new athletic director before making a coaching hire. Today, the University announced that they will hire UCF athletic director Danny White to the same position in Knoxville.
White has most recently served as athletic director at UCF. In Orlando, White has been required to make several coaching hires. He has been responsible for hiring two football coaches for the Golden Knights, Scott Frost and current coach Josh Heupel. Frost and Heupel went a combined 41-11 at UCF, including a pair of undefeated regular seasons, one by each coach, and the Knights ending as the only undefeated FBS team in 2017. The Golden Knights football team won the American Athletic Conference Championship in 2017 and 2018, as well as claiming a National Title in 2017 when they went undefeated and we’re left out of the College Football Playoff. White has also made impressive hires for basketball coaches at UCF. Johnny Dawkins was hired by White to coach the Golden Knights on the hardwood in 2017. He led the team to the NCAA Tournament in the 2018-2019 season, as well as recording the first NCAA Tournament win in UCF history. In 2016, White also hired Katie Abrahamson-Henderson to coach the UCF Women’s basketball team. Since that time she has just shy of a .700 winning percentage and has led her team to the NCAA Tournament as well. White has also served as a record setting fundraiser for UCF, as the University received multiple record donations during his time as the athletic director. He has overseen the construction and completion of multiple new athletic facilities for UCF.
Prior to his time at UCF, White was also the athletic director at the University of Buffalo. During his time at Buffalo, White made multiple successful hires for the Bulls’ basketball program, including Bobby Hurley who left for Arizona State, and Nate Oates, who won two regular season MAC Titles and a MAC Tournament Title before heading to Alabama. That White was so successful hiring basketball coaches may come as no surprise when considering his time as a guard for Notre Dame.
At a time when Tennessee desperately needs to make good decisions, they have turned to the 40 year old White to help them find it. White has the experience that Tennessee leadership has coveted with success in multiple programs at two different FBS programs. White has made successful hires, identifying talented coaches at each of his stops that have led to success in both major revenue sports at UCF and Buffalo. White has also proven to be an excellent fund raiser, planner, and has excelled at putting the funds generated to good use for the programs he oversees. Perhaps the only question that could be made of White is regarding his lack of experience with a Power Five program, however it is worth noting that UCF is the largest university in Florida in terms of enrollment, and the AAC has made a strong case, in large part due to UCF, to join the Power Five. This hire feels about as strong as could be possible for Tennessee, as they land a young athletic director that has found success everywhere he has been, and they managed to do so in less than five days.