New and old candidates, including Les Miles, surfacing for Tennessee with Phil Fulmer now leading search

Les Miles

Tennessee continues its much-publicized, oft-criticized search for its next football coach with Phillip Fulmer, the Hall of Famer-turned-athletics-director, away from the Volunteer State.

Named Friday as the head of University of Tennessee athletics, Fulmer has gone from the SEC Championship in Atlanta to the metro-Dallas area as UT has scheduled myriad interviews after having already talked about its vacancy with Les Miles.

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, Alabama’s rising-star defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin and Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, per sources, are among the candidates to emerge, or re-emerge, in the wake of Fulmer’s ascension.

Fulmer talked with Miles, and also spent time with one of his many standouts, SEC Legend Chad Clifton, over the weekend in Atlanta.

Fuente is the Virginia Tech coach who previously was at Memphis and is continuing to generate a sparkling national reputation. Fuente is prepping his Hokies for their second bowl game in as many years.

The Vols, per sources, are preparing to offer at least a five-year deal worth $25 million or more to its next head coach on the heels of suspending, with plans to fire, John Currie on Friday morning.

Per multiple sources – including some in the Knoxville legal community – Currie is reaching out to numerous employment lawyers in order to contest his pending dismissal with cause case from UT.

Speaking with a legal expert, Chancellor Beverly Davenport might see her comments strongly examined by legal authorities after her statements regarding Currie’s ability to have “full authority” to execute the Vols’ search. Additionally, Davenport owns original information, per sources with direct knowledge, of Currie’s intention, per Jimmy Haslam’s involvement, to first hire Greg Schiano to replace Butch Jones following Jones’ firing last month.

Watch also for news this week from New York with the National Football Foundation ceremonies bringing a veritable who’s who of college athletics directors and dignitaries to the Big Apple and plenty of meetings online.

RELATED: Don’t believe everything you read about Phil Fulmer’s attempts to sabotague Vols’ search for a head coach.

(You can follow John Brice on Twitter @JohnDBrice1)

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