Ron Wellman will retire as Wake Forest’s athletics director and he’ll be replaced by John Currie, Wake Forest announced Sunday morning.
Wellman's last day as athletics director at Wake Forest will be May 1.
"It has been an absolute privilege to spend 27 years at Wake Forest University," Wellman, 70, said in a release posted to the school's athletics website. "This University has provided myself and my family an outstanding opportunity to develop relationships with so many phenomenal coaches and student-athletes as well as faculty, staff and community members. I have truly enjoyed my time here and I look forward to watching the program continue to grow in the coming years."
The announcement comes less than 12 hours after a report by The Athletic’s David Glenn that this would be the direction for Wake Forest’s athletics department.
Currie was the athletics director of Tennessee from February to December of 2017. He was fired from the position after just eight months following a bizarre coaching search that lasted less than a month following the firing of football coach Butch Jones on Nov. 13, 2017.
After agreeing to terms to make Greg Schiano, who was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State at the time, the Volunteers’ next head coach on Nov, 26, 2017, a fan revolt about the choice made the deal fall apart. Schiano, a former Penn State assistant coach, has been alleged to know about former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.
Over the next few days, Currie discussed the position with Jeff Brohm of Purdue, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Dave Doeren of N.C. State.
Later that week, Currie was in California to meet with Mike Leach of Washington State about becoming the Volunteers’ next head coach. He was told to return to Tennessee on Nov. 30, 2017, and was fired the next day. Phillip Fulmer was named the interim athletics director that day and hired Jeremy Pruitt as the Volunteers’ football coach on Dec. 7, 2017.
In revenue sports, Currie will inherit a football program that has won three straight bowl games for the first time in program history. Coach Dave Clawson wrapped up his fifth season with a win in the Birmingham Bowl in December — the same month that he brought in the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history.
But in men’s basketball, Currie inherits a program that seems bound for its fourth losing season in five years under Coach Danny Manning. If the Deacons don’t win at least one of their two final games, at Duke and home against Florida State, it will all but guarantee the program will suffer its fifth 20-loss season — and its third under Manning.
Wellman is in his 27th year as Wake Forest’s athletics director. He leaves as the longest-tenured athletics director in the country, having been named to the position in October of 1992.
"I am delighted to welcome John Currie and his wife, Mary Lawrence, back home to their alma mater, Wake Forest," Nathan O. Hatch, president of Wake Forest, said in a release posted to the school's athletics website. "I've long followed John's career. He comes highly recommended by a long list of academic leaders, commissioners, coaches, former student-athletes and staff throughout higher education and college athletics.
"As a Wake Forest grad, North Carolina native and accomplished athletic director, John is the perfect fit to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Ron Wellman."
Currie is a 1993 graduate of Wake Forest with a degree. He started working with the Deacon Club that year as an intern and was named assistant director of that organization in 1994. He also worked as an assistant athletics director for Wake Forest during that time.
In 2000, Currie left Wake Forest to join the athletics department at Tennessee. He started as the assistant athletic director for development and rose as high as executive associate athletic director. He was in Knoxville, Tenn., until 2009, the year he was hired as the athletics director at Kansas State.
Currie was the athletics director at Kansas State for eight years until being hired as the athletics director at Tennessee in February of 2017.