In discussing how he makes decisions as Tennessee’s athletic director, John Currie referenced his late father, whose name he shares, during a radio interview on Monday night.
“He was a surgeon. And the surgeon’s creed is, ‘There’s no problem you can’t make worse by operating,’” Currie said on the “Big Orange Hotline” radio show.
That anecdote perhaps offers some insight into why Currie didn’t make a move Sunday, when speculation swirled regarding the future of football coach Butch Jones.
Jones’ Vols (3-5, 0-5 SEC) are riding a four-game losing streak after a 29-26 loss to Kentucky on Saturday.
“With any particular decision, … you’ve got to make decisions that you truly believe are best for your program,” Currie said. “I believe that supporting our staff and supporting our players, getting ready for the Southern Miss game, is the best I can do for our football program right now.”
Currie acknowledged that he met with Jones on Sunday but added that “we see each other about every Sunday.”
“That’s been one of my practices the whole time,” Currie said. “The nine years I’ve been an athletics director now, I always try to go into the building on Sunday, win or lose.”
Much of Currie’s seven-minute interview with Bob Kesling was focused on Jones’ future. Currie offered no specifics on his plans.
Jones said Saturday that he “absolutely” believes he has Currie’s support, and when asked Monday about that comment, Jones said “nothing has changed.”
Currie is in his first year as UT’s athletic director after serving eight years as the athletic director at Kansas State. Before going to KSU, Currie was an administrator within Tennessee’s athletic department.
He said part of what made returning to UT attractive was the fan base’s passion. Fans’ current frustrations regarding the Vols’ record come with the territory.
“The bottom line is, one of the reasons I came back here to the University of Tennessee is this is a national program with a national following and incredibly passionate and fevered fans. That knife cuts both ways, right?” Currie said. “You’re excited when you win, and you’re disappointed and angry when you lose. It’s the same for the staff and the AD and the players, too.”
“I know folks are frustrated with the won-loss record,” he added. “I am too. Coach Jones is. We all are. I believe, right now, the most important thing to do is support our players.”
Regarding Saturday’s loss to Kentucky — just the second time the Vols have lost to the Wildcats in the past 33 meetings — Currie said his “thoughts are the same as everybody else in Volunteer Nation, including Coach Jones. It was disappointing. Our players played so hard, though, the whole game. They never let up.”
Tennessee will play Southern Mississippi (5-3) on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network) on homecoming at Neyland Stadium.
TENNESSEE VOLS VS. KENTUCKYTennessee’s missed opportunity | 2:13
Vols coach Butch Jones reviews loss to Kentucky Dan Fleser1 of 7
TENNESSEE VOLS VS. KENTUCKYTennessee fans invade Kentucky | 0:25
Tennessee fans in Kentucky looking forward to the game.2 of 7
TENNESSEE VOLS VS. KENTUCKYTennessee Vols football practice Oct. 24, 2017 | 0:22
Clips from the Tennessee Vols football practice on Oct. 24, 2017.3 of 7