Take a look down Phillip Fulmer's resume and plenty of accomplishments jump off the page: a 1998 national championship, two SEC championships, six divisional titles and 147 career wins.
But gaze a little longer at that bio, and another trend becomes incredibly obvious.
Some 28 years ago, Fulmer came back to his alma mater as an assistant coach. Twenty-eight years later, he's still here.
That's a big enough feat to earn admission in the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame all on its own.
When Fulmer, 57, joins nine other inductees in this year's class on July 17, it's not only a tribute to his success on the field. It's a testament to his longevity in a profession that sometimes treats coaches like used cars.
"It's certainly a compliment to the people who have been in our program - the players and the coaches and the administration and their support during that time," Fulmer said. "All those things have to be in place to achieve any level of success as to what I do. It's not like you're being put in there for being a great golfer or a great tennis player or 3-point shooter or anything like that. Being a coach is very much a part of being a team. We've had a lot of good people on the team."
And since November of 1992, Fulmer has been leading the team.
After Fulmer was officially named UT's 20th head coach, 41 coaches have come and gone from SEC schools. Alabama has had five different head coaches. So has Ole Miss, which just hired Houston Nutt who had been the second-longest tenured SEC coach after spending 10 seasons at Arkansas.
Of the 12 current head coaches in the SEC, only two - Georgia's Mark Richt and Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom - have been at one school for their entire career as a head coach. Moreover, four coaches - South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, Alabama's Nick Saban and Ole Miss's Nutt - are on their second go-round in the SEC.
Still, it's not exactly the way Fulmer had it all planned out when came to Tennessee as the offensive line coach in 1980.
"I don't think you could ever think that was the case," Fulmer said. "Fact is, I came back and I was thrilled to be back, but I saw myself more as a pro football coach. That was really what I wanted to do at that time."
And the opportunities came.
Before becoming UT's head coach, the San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all came calling with offers to be an assistant coach in the NFL.
In the last 10 years, Fulmer said he's had opportunities and discussions about making the jump from college to the NFL.
Early in his career, Fulmer didn't want to force his family into following him across the country as he climbed the career ladder.
But now, as then, family and his alma mater made it too costly to leave.
"The reality, again with my children and my situation here, I'm very blessed," Fulmer said. "It's very unique in my world to have a chance to be in one place for this long. That has its plusses and minuses to it. Sometimes people get tired of you, or (want) change for change. It's a pretty special place here, the tradition, the facilities.
"What I represent on a daily basis, all the people that wore the orange before, I take it very seriously."
That approach won't change as Fulmer closes in on a pair of milestones.
After going 10-4 last season and leading the Vols to their third SEC title game appearance since 2001, Fulmer's 147 wins leave him just 26 short of Gen. Robert Neyland's 173 career wins on UT's all-time list.
Fulmer's 95 wins in SEC play, which rank sixth in SEC history, leave him 11 behind Mississippi's John Vaught for second all-time behind Bear Bryant's 159.
Fulmer's proximity to those two milestones, like his induction into the Knoxville Hall, is equal parts of a complimentary equation of success and longevity.
"I have a great love and a great passion for this," Fulmer said. "You have your faith and your family, which my wife would say I even get that out whack every now and then with the time spent and everything. It's not just a job. It's a part of my life, and it's something that I want to leave a legacy that's like I found it."
Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.