KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Peyton Manning was unaware that Danny White was on Donde Plowman's short list to be Tennessee's next athletics director.
The legendary quarterback unknowingly pointed toward White when he spoke with the University of Tennessee Chancellor about the AD search.
"He said, you know, I called (Duke coach David) Cutcliffe and said, 'What should I tell her about qualities in an athletic director?' " Plowman said Friday. "He said, 'Tell her to pick someone exactly like our athletic director, Kevin White.'
"That was just really amazing because we did our best. Because we hired his son."
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Plowman introduced Danny White as Tennessee's AD on Friday. He was hired Thursday, three days after Plowman announced Phillip Fulmer is departing and football coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired for cause.
White is from a family of athletics directors. Along with his father, his brother, Brian, is the athletics director at Florida Atlantic, and his sister, Mariah Chappell, is an assistant AD at Southern Metodist.
Peyton Manning, who played at Tennessee, suggested the Volunteers hire someone like Duke's Kevin White as athletics director. They hired his son. (Photo: Denny Medley, Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
His oldest brother, Mike, is the basketball coach at Florida.
"He comes from an extraordinary family of college athletics administrators," Plowman said.
Kevin White announced Jan. 15 that he would retire as Duke's AD in August, a position he has held since 2008.
"My hunch is Danny and his family are very competitive and he will want to serve longer than his father, so I don't think we've hired a 10- to 15-year athletic director, I think we've hired a potentially 30-year athletic director," Tennessee board of trustees chairman John Compton said Friday at an executive committee meeting.
Compton, Plowman and Tennessee president Randy Boyd were the primary members who pursued White. who was the AD at Central Florida. He also was the AD at Buffalo from 2012-15.
Manning passed for 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns during his Tennessee career from 1994-97 with Cutcliffe as the offensive coordinator. Manning helped lead the Volunteers to an SEC title in 1997.
Manning spent 18 years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. He was named MVP five times and won a pair of Super Bowls.
Contributing: Monica Kast
Follow Mike Wilson on Twitter @ByMikeWilson
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