Tennessee names ex-Vols football coach Phil Fulmer its new athletic director

If you pitched this Tennessee coaching search as a television show, I'm not sure even Netflix would buy it.

The latest episode of "The Vols of our Lives" has former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer being named the school's athletic director. Fulmer replaces John Currie, who Tennessee fired on Friday after Currie's decision to fire Butch Jones resulted in the world's worst coaching search.

After a fan revolt following the near-hire of Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, Tennessee went through candidate after candidate for its vacancy, doing little more than helping coaches at other schools secure raises by using the Vols as leverage.

The hope now is that Fulmer will bring some much-needed stability to the program as it attempts to get through these rough waters. Of course, it should be pointed out that Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman reported Friday that Fulmer was trying to "undermine" Currie's efforts in hopes of securing the AD position for himself.

And now here we are, as Tennessee announced Fulmer as its acting athletic director on Friday.

"Phillip Fulmer will begin serving as athletic director effective immediately," said Tennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport in a school release. "I have taken these steps in the best interest of the university. I am confident that Phillip understands the need to support our student-athletes and our commitment to excellence in all athletic programs. I appreciate his willingness to serve during this critical time."

It's important to remember that before Tennessee hired Currie to be its new athletic director in February, Fulmer was also being considered for the job.

Fulmer, of course, was the coach at Tennessee from 1992 to 2008. He went 152-52 during his 17 seasons in Knoxville, winning two SEC crowns as well as a national title in 1998. His dismissal following the 2008 season led to the hiring of Lane Kiffin, which was the first domino in a long, painful chain reaction that has resulted in Fulmer's return.

As for where it goes from here, remember to tune in next week to "The Vols of our Lives."

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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