Wake Forest has hired John Currie as athletic director to replace longtime AD Ron Wellman, who is retiring, the school announced Sunday.
Wellman's retirement is effective May 1, when Currie will take over the position.
"I knew over the last year that I wanted to be back on a team, as part of a team," Currie said. "I feel very lucky to be joining President [Nathan] Hatch's leadership team here at Wake Forest."
Currie, a Wake Forest alumnus, served as athletic director at Kansas State from 2009 to 2017 and then at Tennessee until he was fired in December 2017 amid a controversial football coaching search. Tennessee was set to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as coach but reversed course following a backlash from fans. Tennessee paid Currie $2.5 million as part of a separation agreement reached in March 2018.
"When you go through something like that, you learn who your friends are," Currie said. "I felt really affirmed. I had friends and supporters that I didn't even know I had.
"Ultimately, we're all going to go through peaks and valleys and challenges. That's just the nature of leadership. I'm proud of the things we accomplished at Tennessee, and I will continue to have lifelong friends and relationships that come from our time in Knoxville."
Wellman is the ACC's longest-tenured athletic director, leading Wake Forest's department since October 1992.
"Ron has led Wake Forest athletics with grace, integrity and a commitment to excellence without pretension," Hatch said in a statement. "He has overseen the most successful period in our athletics history ... while achieving a student-athlete graduation rate of 94 percent. It has been an honor to serve Wake Forest alongside a leader of extraordinary conscience and character like Ron."
Currie began his administrative career as an assistant athletic director under Wellman at Wake Forest. He then spent 12 years in Tennessee's athletic department before taking the top job at Kansas State.
He spent the past year visiting campuses, working as a consultant at Texas and teaching in Columbia University's sport management program. He inherits a Wake Forest program that has had recent success in football (three consecutive bowl wins) but has slipped in men's basketball (one NCAA tournament appearance since 2010).
"This is a place that aspires for championships, that has won championships," Currie said. "This is a program that intends to be a factor in the ACC race and in the national race in all of our sports."