University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman announced a contract extension for Director of Athletics Danny White on Wednesday. White’s extension starts at $2.2 million annually, with a six-year rolling term.
“Danny White’s strong and innovative leadership of our athletics department has created a championship culture and excellence across all sports in record time,” Chancellor Donde Plowman said in a statement. “He’s built the best team of athletics administrators in the country, a team committed to our student-athletes’ well-being and to winning with integrity.
“He has set audacious goals for Athletics and is exceeding every milestone. I appreciate his leadership, his vision and his commitment to making the University of Tennessee the very best.”
White arrived in Knoxville in January 2021 following Phillip Fulmer’s retirement in the midst of Jeremy Pruitt’s recruiting scandal and the NCAA’s investigation into the Tennessee football program.
The former Central Florida and Buffalo AD’s first order of business was bringing his football coach with him from Orlando, tabbing Josh Heupel as the 27th head coach in Tennessee history.
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The move has paid massive dividends to this point as Heupel as completely rejuvenated the Tennessee football program in just two years. Heupel led the Vols to their best season in over two decades as Tennessee went 11-2 (6-2 SEC) with wins over Florida, LSU, Alabama and Clemson.
Heupel’s overwhelming success in two seasons led to him receiving a contract extension and 80% raise earlier this week.
“I am so fortunate to be in the right place, at the right time,” White said in a statement. “We have exceptional leadership—starting with Chancellor Donde Plowman—and incredible support from President Randy Boyd and Board of Trustees Chair John Compton. We have the best roster of coaches in college athletics, talented student-athletes and a dynamic administrative team to support the enterprise.
“Most importantly, the passion of Vol Nation gives us a unique opportunity to build the very best athletic department in America. We’re just getting started on Rocky Top. I can’t wait to see what’s next!”
Tennessee athletics have had plenty of success in sports outside of football in White’s two years in Knoxville. The Volunteer basketball program, swim and dive and baseball program won the 2022 SEC Tournaments while soccer won the 2021 SEC Tournament.
Tennessee has won six team SEC Championships in White’s tenure while also winning USA TODAY Network SEC All-Sports Trophy for the first time ever.
Besides Heupel, White has hired three head coaches in his tenure. White tabbed Maryland golf coach Diana Cantu to return to her alma mater as head coach. Cantu is in her first season as head coach.
White promoted assistant coach Joe Kirt to become Tennessee’s soccer coach after Brian Pensky left to take the Florida State job last spring. Kirt and the Lady Vols didn’t live up to high expectations during the 2022 season, losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 43-year old athletic director made perhaps his biggest splash hire in Track and Field where he poached Duane Ross — the outdoor Track Coach of the Year — from North Carolina A&T.