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Part 4: The oral history of the Tennessee coaching search

Tennessee coaching target Greg Schiano
Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports

Part IV: Currie closes in on Schiano

On Sunday morning, November 26, USA Today’s Dan Wolken sent a tweet that lit the first match of what would become a firestorm in Knoxville.

Jonathan Roach – Tennessee fan, class of 2016. Current student at UTHSC pharmacy.
I got a text from a school friend that said, ‘I am so, so sorry.’ I knew immediately that we had done something stupid, but not in a million years did I think it was Schiano.

Hart: Why the rush for this guy?

McGee: From a football perspective, I liked the idea. He’s no-nonsense and that’s what the program needs. … Rutgers played in the first college football game in 1869, and between then and 2004, they went to one bowl game. One. Then he led them to six in seven seasons and laid the groundwork that got them invited into the Big Ten. So, this argument of him not knowing football was always ridiculous. But football wasn’t my initial reaction. My first thought was, ‘Man, I hope they’ve prepared a defense for the Penn State thing because you know someone is going to bring it up.’

RELATED: Other stories in our series

Many already knew Schiano’s résumé. Others were catching up and not happy with what they were learning. Word spread across Vol Nation with Usain Bolt-like speed.

Kyle Illgen – Tennessee fan
I was driving home from Nashville to Dallas, right before the rumors started trickling out. I checked my Twitter feed when we stopped for gas about two hours into the trip and saw all the rumors starting. Obviously, I freaked out and wanted to keep up, but because my girlfriend won’t let me check my phone while I drive, I had to figure out reasons to stop. So, I faked having to pee twice and convinced her that a restaurant we stopped at was too dirty to eat at so that we could stop again in the next town. I ate in the car for 45 minutes because “I didn’t want to eat and drive,” and I was thrilled to be stuck in traffic at one point just so I could check in on the situation. A scheduled 9½- trip took us 11½ hours, mostly because I was trying to keep up with the whole fiasco.

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