New Tennessee AD Danny White sits down with Rick Russo

New AD sits down for conversation with WVLT Sports Director Rick Russo
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 12:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2021 at 10:27 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The University of Tennessee’s new Athletics Director, Danny White, arrived on Rocky Top Friday afternoon.

Danny White was the Vice President Athletic Director for the University of Central Florida. White served as the AD for UCF since 2015. Before his time at UCF he worked as AD for the University of New York at Buffalo.

He played college basketball at Towson University and the University of Notre Dame and was director of operations and assistant coach for one season each with the Ohio University men’s basketball team.

White will replace former UT AD Phillip Fulmer who announced his retirement during an investigation into the program.

White said the investigation into the program did not make him question taking the position as AD.

“If everything was humming here and going great, I wouldn’t be standing here,” White said. “I want to be a part of fixing it. I’ve never been at a big brand place until now. I like the fact the brand needs to be a little bit polished, needs to be elevated to what it was not long ago.”

White will now lead UT in the search for a new head football coach.

White said he’s scheduled to visit with new addition to the Vols family, Kevin [Steele], later this afternoon to discuss the search.

“Everyone at this point is a candidate,” White said when asked about the search for UT’s next head coach during his introductory press conference. “We have not narrowed it down, but we are going to move quickly.”

White said the hiring process will begin and end with the student-athletes. He met with the team Friday afternoon.

Also on Friday he sat down exclusively with WVLT Sports Director Rick Russo. The two discussed his plan to get things right with Tennessee football, his first conversation with the team, his relationship with Peyton and the Manning family and the possibility of a sibling rivalry with brother Mike, the head basketball coach at Florida:

“I want to hear from them first and I want them to be the first to find out who their new coach is,” White said.

White said he hopes to gain the trust of Vol Nation with his competitive spirit.

“I hate to lose, and I imagine our fans hate to lose,” White said. “I want the same thing they do. If we don’t do it the right way it won’t be sustainable.”

White made it clear to Vol fans during the press conference that he wants the negativity on social media directed towards student-athletes to stop.

“Imagine being a 19-year-old kid and it’s 50 degrees on your way to weightlifting and your Twitter feed is full of negativity, we can’t have that,” White said.

White said he’s not interested in fan takes on the coaching search. The new AD said he’s “not paying attention to that list.”

UT Chancellor Donde Plowman said it was clear who the top candidate for AD was when she had her first conversation with White over Zoom.

“I could not be happier that Danny White is joining us as our next athletic director. He is a proven leader and will make special things happen here. Go Vols,” Plowman tweeted.

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