1796 Sports
3 min readJun 24, 2023

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Five and a half years ago, Tennessee fans basically ran John Currie out of Knoxville, and with good reason.

Currie, after firing Lyle “Butch” Jones In November of 2017, spent the next two weeks consulting search firms and sunbathing in the Bahamas. He had wanted to hire Dan Mullen, but Florida beat him to it while Mr. Currie was waiting on his precious search firm to identify any other candidates.

Plan B for Currie was one Gregory Schiano. Schiano, of course, was mentioned in a sworn affidavit by former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary. McQueary claimed that Schiano had known about the abuse carried out by Jerry Sandusky. After word got out to the press on November 26, 2017 that Currie’s hire would be Schiano, all hell broke loose in Knoxville. Protests on campus and emergency broadcasts by Knoxville radio personalities filled the next six hours. Even Tennessee congress members chimed in with pleads to not go through with the hire.

Finally, smarter people than Currie stepped in and stopped this atrocity of a hire from taking place. The next four days saw Currie embarrassing himself even further, being turned down by Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy and North Carolina state Coach Dave Doeren. Currie finally had somewhat of a mental breakdown and went rogue. Currie, without permission from the University, flew across the country to pitch the job to the late Mike Leach who was at Washington State. Currie, having been turned down once again, landed back in Knoxville and was fired on the spot.

John Currie’s time at Tennessee will mostly be remembered for his ineptitude, but there is one redeeming factor and that is his hiring of Tony Vitello.

Tony Vitello in his 6th year at Tennessee has revived a baseball program that has always had the potential to be great. Tony Vitello inherited a program that was being held together by scotch tape and zip ties but now his program has made the College Word series in two of the last three years. After a 2022 season that saw possibly the best team in college baseball history lose to Notre Dame in the super regionals Vitello had work to do to field a competitive roster.

All eight starting position players from the 2022 vol baseball team were either drafted to the majors or graduated. Vitello hit the transfer portal and the recruiting trail and was able to put together a team that came into the season ranked number two in the country. However a bumpy start to the season saw the vols sitting at 5–10 through the first half of SEC play. Tony had tough…

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1796 Sports

Tennessee achieved statehood in 1796. Since then, our sports teams haven’t had much to celebrate. Join us as we cover all of the sad sporting events.