Fulmer’s Day at ESPN
Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer toured ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., and partook in many of the network’s television and radio shows. A look at some of his day:
- Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio: Discusses his legacy at Tennessee and just how competitive the SEC has become with co-hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Gollic.
- First Take on ESPN2: Co-host Sage Steele asked him in light of Pat Summit dressing like a cheerleader and singing Rocky Top and Bruce Pearl cheering in full body paint, which one would he do to show his school spirit? He paused, laughed and said he wouldn’t like to do either but he would most likely sing Rocky Top, wearing a male cheerleader outfit.
- Live on-air promotion for new morning SportsCenters that will debut next month.
- Met with former Florida Gators and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith. "He’s a Florida guy, so we have the SEC in common. I was always was a fan of his both in college and the NFL," Fulmer said.
- Met with Hannah Storm, formerly of NBC and CBS, who will anchor new morning SportsCenters.
- College Football Live on ESPN: Joins host Dari Nowkhah and analyst Bob Griese, college football analyst on ESPN and ABC, in studio.
- Prior to taping, Fulmer met Knoxville natives Andreas Bardill, who worked at WVLT before joining ESPN as a technical director, director Mark Deaver, who worked at WKXT (which preceded WVLT). Bardill and Deaver attended Tennessee. Griese, a Purdue grad, said with a laugh, "Couldn’t get into Purdue, huh?"
Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer took his turn in the national media spotlight with appearances on a variety of ESPN shows Monday morning and afternoon.
Starting with the “Mike and Mike in the Morning’’ show at 9:43 a.m., Fulmer spent the day in the cable giant’s studios in Bristol, Conn., discussing the Vols’ program and its place in the SEC.
“I’m thrilled to be going through what they call the ‘car wash’ here today,’’ Fulmer said during his appearance on ESPN’s First Take, the second of the two live television shows on which he appeared.
Fulmer also made live appearances on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd,’’ and “Tirico and Van Pelt,’’ and conducted a live ESPN.com chat. Fulmer taped appearances for the “Hot List for ESPNews’’ and “College Football Live.’’
Fulmer, wearing a white shirt, black sports coat and khaki slacks, handled all questions throughout the day in stride, even when the talk turned somewhat controversial.
First Take co-host Sage Steele asked Fulmer about last week’s drama in Birmingham, when he was served a subpoena while attending the SEC Media Days.
“It was in very poor taste; That is not the place for anything like that to happen,’’ Fulmer said. “I think everyone around it, except the lawyers who did it, thought it was in very, very poor taste. I think 99 percent are ready for all that to be behind everyone.
“There were some significant violations done a number of years ago,’’ he said. “That was investigated, the parties that be were disassociated from the University of Alabama, the penalties were paid.’’
Fulmer bristled when Steele suggested that UT’s projected starter at quarterback, Jonathan Crompton, has had issues with his work ethic.
“Jonathan really had no work ethic issues I was aware of,’’ Fulmer said. “He has been a wonderful young man to be around. A coup le of opportunities he had when Erik Ainge was hurt, he did very well. He’s worked really hard this spring to get ready.’’
Fulmer spoke often of SEC football passion and the high standards and expectations for success at the University of Tennessee. Along the way, he revealed he was approached more than once about NFL coaching opportunities.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else, there’s no place that would be better,’’ Fulmer said. “I’ve had a couple of NFL opportunities, at least approached about it.... (Tennessee) is a special place to be; they give us a chance to do well there.’’
As for the high expectations at UT, Fulmer said, “I understand that and I can live with that. I’m actually very appreciative of the fact that the bar is set that high.’’
Fulmer reflected on the Vols’ 1998 national championship season.
“It was a stunner,’’ he said. “We had a lot of great players, Peyton (Manning) was one of them, that graduated in that ‘97 class, and it was supposed to be kind of a rebuilding year.
“Tee (Martin) is such a dynamic person himself. Those guys weren’t going to let Tee Martin fail, they thought so much of him. We played great defense, good kicking game and (Martin) progressed as we went along; got a couple of breaks you’ve got to have to win a national championship, and became a good football team.’’
The Vols open the season Sept. 1 in an ESPN-televised game at UCLA.