Florida AD believes John Currie's firing was 'a tragedy'

Scott Stricklin chops it up with Dan Mullen after hiring him to be Florida’s head football coach. (AP Photo/Mark Long)

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin is going to miss having John Currie around in the SEC. But not because he thoroughly enjoyed pickpocketing Dan Mullen from underneath his nose or because he thinks the former Tennessee athletic director is an incompetent rube he can push around.

Perhaps realizing the fragility of life as an athletic director in the SEC tinderbox, Stricklin expressed disappointment in how Currie’s situation played out and professional admiration for the deposed Tennessee athletic director.

Currie was fired by Tennessee after reneging on an agreement with Greg Schiano due to backlash from fans and the community, Currie continued to strike out in his pursuit of a replacement for Butch Jones. One of the coaches who spurned Currie was Dan Mullen, who accepted Stricklin’s offer to coach the Gators. Jon Gruden continued his annual tradition of declining interest in the Tennessee Vols, but Currie’s predicament snowballed after Mike Gundy, Dave Doeren, Jeff Brohm, and David Cutliffe turned it down while Lane Kiffin was using his former employer as a punching bag. Taking a Kansas State booster’s private plane to interview Mike Leach was the final straw.

Stricklin was only hired by a few months earlier than Currie, who was hired earlier this year. Stricklin has only been the Florida athletic director for approximately 12 months, but he was previously the athletic director at Mississippi State. Meanwhile, Currie spent the last six years in the same role at Kansas State before taking the Tennessee position. Stricklin and Currie may work for rival schools, but they’re also peers and the way Currie was dealt with by Tennessee may not have sat right for a fellow athletic director.

Currie wasn’t even given a full calendar year on the job before public sentiment about Schiano’s “hiring” and Philip Fulmer’s alleged sabotage ended in his ouster. For Stricklin it may also serve as a reminder to always keep your head on a swivel and that no job is safe in the SEC. Currie will land on his feet, but he may have discovered an unlikely recommendation to include on his resume.