KNOXVILLE — What a week, huh?

From a failed attempt to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, to trying to lure Mike Gundy from his alma mater Oklahoma State, to botching a deal with Purdue’s Jeff Brohm and having N.C. State’s Dave Doeren elect to stay in Raleigh, then having an all-out attempt to hire Washington State’s Mike Leach on Thursday lead to the firing of athletic director John Currie on Friday.

That’s quite the ride, with as many twists and turns as a journey on I-40 from Knoxville to Asheville. But the bumpy road led back home.

Currie’s firing led to appointing former UT head coach Phillip Fulmer as AD. Fulmer is tasked with stabilizing the Volunteers football program that has experienced four winning seasons in the nine seasons since his last season as head coach in 2008.

He will hire Tennessee’s next football coach.

“Our football teams in recent years have struggle for a variety of reasons, but through it all, we have been supported by the most passionate fan base in the country,” Fulmer said simply at his introductory press conference being named AD.

Fulmer talked about goals, faith, unity and a vision. He had a message for Vol Nation.

“Let’s go have fun winning championships,” he said.

Fulmer’s presence and new role bring an energized pulse to a university and football program reeling from the past week.

“I’ve been charged to find the right coach for these circumstances — head coach, assistant coach, coordinator,” Fulmer said. “I wasn’t a head coach when I started, and I’ve had some success. More times than not, you like experience — somebody who has been a head coach to come in. We’ll see where that goes.”

Fulmer takes on the role of restoring a program that he has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to.

A 1972 UT graduate, he was an offensive lineman from 1969-1971, serving as team captain as a senior and winning an SEC championship and a Sugar Bowl. He returned as an assistant coach in 1980 before being named head coach in 1992.

His 152-52 career record in 17 seasons made him the second-winningest coach in school history. He won two SEC championships and the 1998 national championship.

He’s been where he wants this program to go, and he’s confident he can play a role in getting them there.

How long will it take to turn things around? It will take time, he said. But it will work.

The wildest week in Tennessee football history tested everybody’s patience. Friday, the program took a huge step toward regaining respectability.

Fulmer wants to take them a lot further than that.