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Phil Fulmer continuing to interview candidates for Volunteers opening

Kevin Steele

Tennessee’s revamped search for its next football coach continued Monday in Dallas, with new athletics director Phillip Fulmer running point in the Vols’ now-22-day process.

Fulmer and his close-knit inner circle are in the process of a full day of interviews after previously speaking this weekend with Les Miles, SMU head coach Chad Morris, Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

Fulmer spoke with Steele in Atlanta as both where in town for the SEC Championship Game. I’m being told it remains “likely” that if Miles or Steele are named head coach, both would add former Vols’ star quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin to the staff.

Per sources with direct knowledge of the proceedings, Fulmer’s next round of talks is set to include, but not be limited to, Washington’s Chris Petersen and Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Petersen has coached the University of Washington to a 37-16 record over the past four seasons, including double-digit wins the past two years. The Huskies played in the College Football Playoff last season and were invited to the Fiesta Bowl this year.

Per five sources, including someone in Dallas and another college coach in Texas, Pruitt’s interview there today with Fulmer’s contingent is complete.

UT scuttled its embarrassing, rejection-laden coaching search under suspended-to-be-dismissed A.D. John Currie last Friday and immediately placed Fulmer in command of the process.

Moreover, per sources, UT has initiated the process to dispatch Currie with cause on the heels of insubordination claims. Among the most egregious of the claims, per multiple sources including some in the legal community and on the Tennessee campus, when urged to return home last week as the search dissolved into a national punchline, Currie instead opted to utilize the private aircraft of a Kansas State booster to continue trying to find Butch Jones’ replacement.

“That’s why no one knew where he was after he left (being turned down by N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren,” a source explained.

Currie lasted a mere eight months on the job in Knoxville after returning to Tennessee amid great expectations.

RELATED: Phil Fulmer’s return to prominence inside UT athletic department first step in restoring Vols’ athletic greatness.

(You can follow John Brice on Twitter @JohnDBrice1)

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