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The University of Tennessee Athletic Department today offered a statement from head football coach Lane Kiffin for fans critical of Phillip Fulmer being chosen to receive the 2009 Robert R. Neyland Award.
"Coach Fulmer has had a tremendous impact on Tennessee," Kiffin said. "He's the second- winningest coach in Tennessee history behind General Neyland. It's only fitting that he receives this prestigious award. I hope all Tennessee fans will show up early Saturday to show their appreciation for all he has done for our program, our university and our state."
Fulmer will be given the award Saturday at The Foundry during pregame ceremonies for the Orange and White Game. The game begins at 3 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.
Fulmer also will be honored on the field in pregame ceremonies.
The award is given annually to one of the top coaches in college football by the Knoxville Quarterback Club.
Fulmer was fired following a 5-7 season in 2008. He compiled a 152-52 record from 1992-2008 as head coach. Neyland's record was 173-31-12.
More details as they develop online and in Friday's News Sentinel.