John Currie became Wake Forest’s sixth athletic director in school history when he was named to the position on March 3, 2019. Currie is just the third individual to have held the position since 1964 following the 28-year tenure of Dr. Gene Hooks (1964-92) and Ron Wellman (1992-2019).
Currie is a 1993 Wake Forest graduate who has served twice as an athletic director at the NCAA Division I level with leadership roles at Kansas State University from 2009-17 and at the University of Tennessee in 2017.
A nationally-recognized leader in intercollegiate athletics, Currie has spent his career building a solid reputation as a fundraiser, builder of great facilities and an inclusive leader. In 2013, he earned the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and received the Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award. In 2011, Currie was the named to the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list.
Currie’s eight years at Kansas State were highlighted by unprecedented academic, athletic, and fundraising excellence.
The Wildcats excelled on the field during Currie’s tenure. The football went to seven straight bowl games and won Big 12 championships in football (2012), men’s basketball (2013) and baseball (2013). A total of 17 teams earned NCAA Tournament berths with men’s basketball reaching the Elite Eight, volleyball getting to the Sweet 16 and the baseball team won an NCAA Regional.
During his tenure in Manhattan, Kan., Currie initiated, designed, and completed $210 million in comprehensive facility improvements including the Vanier Family Football Complex, West Stadium Center, Ice Family Basketball Center, Intercollegiate Rowing Facility, and the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium – all funded without state tax, university tuition or fee dollars. In 2016, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder Family Stadium was one of five finalists for the Sports Business Journal Facility of the Year.
As a fundraiser, Currie spearheaded the effort to secure a $60 million cash gift in 2014, the largest private gift in K-State history with $40 million allocated to academics and $20 million for athletics.
While at Kansas State, Currie proved himself to be an accomplished personnel manager with numerous successful hires. Among Currie’s hires were Bruce Weber, the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2013 after leading the Wildcats to the Big 12 championship in his first season. In his six seasons with the Wildcats, Weber has led K-State four NCAA Tournament berths including an Elite Eight finish in 2018 while posting a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR).
Currie’s influence was felt in other areas as well. Academically, all Wildcat programs boasted multi-year APR marks of at least 944 with five teams, including football, posting the Big 12’s highest mark in 2016-17. He rebuilt Kansas State’s NCAA compliance programs and the Wildcats had zero major infractions.
Currie was named the athletic director at the University of Tennessee in 2017 and immediately bolstered UT’s commitment to Title IX and Clery Act compliance and education. He emphasized inclusiveness, quadrupling the number of female senior staff members and hiring UT’s first-ever female African-American assistant athletic director. Along with his efforts to restore the Lady Vol brand, Currie accelerated the planning process for the resumption of the first phase of the Historic Neyland Stadium Master Plan and earned unanimous board approval for an initial $180 million phase of an estimated $340 total million project.
Currie and his wife, Mary Lawrence, are the parents of three children: Jack, Virginia, and Mary-Dell.