A day after Tennessee fans melted down in reaction to the pending hiring of Greg Schiano as head coach of the Vols, Tennessee Athletics Director John Currie has issued a statement confirming the Ohio State defensive coordinator was indeed the leading candidate for the job.
Currie released a statement Monday morning outlining the logic that went into the decision to move forward with Schiano as a leading candidate. In it, Currie addressed the past of Schiano from his time at Penn State, which had become a boiling point for outrage upon learning Schiano would be the next head coach in Knoxville.
We carefully interviewed and vetted him, as we do candidates for all positions. He received the highest recommendations for character, family values and commitment to academic achievement and student-athlete welfare from his current and former athletics directors, players, coaching colleagues and experienced media figures.
Coach Schiano worked at Penn State from 1990-1995. Consequently, we, of course, carefully reviewed the 2012 investigation report by Louis Freeh. Coach Schiano is not mentioned in the Freeh report and was not one of the more than 400 people interviewed in the investigation. We also confirmed that Coach Schiano was never deposed and never asked to testify in any criminal or civil matter. And, we conferred with our colleagues at The Ohio State University, who had conducted a similar inquiry after the 2016 release of testimony. I know that Coach Schiano will continue to have great success in his coaching career and wish him and his family well.
This statement may not do much to calm the tension in Knoxville right now, as Currie admits Schiano was the best option he came up with even after supposedly exhausting the vetting process on his end. Now, Tennessee is back to the beginning of the coaching search and the next coach will know for a fact he was the second choice behind Schiano. Who is next on the list of candidates remains to be seen, but hopefully Currie and Tennessee will manage to avoid a similar toxic reaction from fans in the future.