Adams: Fulmer, Gore good choices

John Adams
Former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer

Photo by Adam Brimer

Former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer

Former U.S. vice president and president candidate, Al Gore, is photographed at the UN Climate Summit COP15, in Copenhagen in December 2009. The University of Tennessee will award an honorary doctoral degree to Gore.

Tariq Mikkel Khan/Polfoto/Associated Press

Former U.S. vice president and president candidate, Al Gore, is photographed at the UN Climate Summit COP15, in Copenhagen in December 2009. The University of Tennessee will award an honorary doctoral degree to Gore.

The University of Tennessee should be applauded for its choice of speakers at this week's commencement services. I'm referring, in particular, to the selection of Phillip Fulmer and Al Gore.

Fulmer will address the College of Communication and Information today. Gore will address the College of Arts & Sciences on Friday.

The presence of such high-profile personalities sends a message that UT is as vibrant as ever, even though it hasn't had a permanent university president in place since February of 2009 and hasn't been to a BCS bowl since the 1999 season. Better yet, both Fulmer and Gore have Tennessee roots, which tells every graduate in the audience, "You don't have to leave the state to become rich and famous."

Fulmer grew up in Winchester. Gore spent his summers on a farm in Carthage, although he attended school in Washington D.C., where his father served as a U.S. representative.

But this week's celebrity commencement speakers have much more in common than a rural-Tennessee background.

Cinema - As a young man, Fulmer bore a resemblance to actor Joe Don Baker, who played Buford Pusser in "Walking Tall." Last year, he played a football coach in the popular movie, "Blind Side," which grossed even more money in one weekend than Fulmer did when he was fired a year earlier as UT's football coach.

At Harvard, Gore met writer Erich Segal, who drew on the lives of Gore and fellow student Tommy Lee Jones to create the male lead in his novel, "Love Story," which later became a hit movie.

More recently, Gore's campaign to educate the public on global warming was the subject of the award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

Journalism - Before pursuing a political career, Gore was a reporter for the Tennessean. Fulmer wrote a sports column for the News Sentinel as a counterpoint to my column suggesting he should be fired.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton broke the tie.

Love For Vanderbilt - Gore went to divinity school at Vanderbilt. Fulmer went 15-1 against Vanderbilt.

Florida Flops - Fulmer got chomped. Gore got "chadded."

Fulmer went 5-12 against Florida. Florida's hanging chads cost Gore the 2000 presidential election.

From The Shadows - Both Fulmer and Gore followed in the footsteps of more famous leaders.

Fulmer succeeded Johnny Majors, a Heisman Trophy runner-up who won a national championship at Pittsburgh before he returned to his alma mater as head coach. Gore succeeded two-term President Bill Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee.

U.S. Marshals - Gore has served as the grand marshal of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Fulmer has served as grand marshal of Columbia's Mule Day Parade.

Favorite Color - Green, as in "going green" for Gore, who continues his environmental crusade, and "taking the green" for Fulmer, who received a $6 million buyout from UT.

1998 Titles - Fulmer led UT to the national championship in football in 1998. Vice-President Gore called the Kentucky Wildcats to congratulate them after they won the national championship in basketball in 1998.

Famous Sayings - Gore coined the term, "Information Super Highway." Fulmer used the term "I'll have to see the film" so often that you think he coined it.

Discovery Channel - Gore discovered the Internet. Fulmer discovered Dave Clawson.

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 152

PEYDAY writes:

Adams - Fulmer is not the head coach anymore, you can let your hatred go. Your hateful spew which you still project towards him is childish. Grow up.

txvolsfan2 writes:

Perhaps the University will follow the model set by a British judge and require some clarification of the facts after Gore's speech (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-she...).

dvhill100 writes:

Wow. The article certainly changed in tone as you got toward the end. I realize tongue-in-cheek is present, but it got a little nasty there.

heyitsme writes:

Don't you just love it --- two filthy-rich democrats. One with massive credibility issues, and the other tossed out of his profession in disgrace...

The university is pushing my patience... Wonder how much of their own funds they will donate to the university this year?

clausenforheisman writes:

I've read a lot of bad articles on this site over the past few years. This has to be the worst.

govolshw writes:

Fulmer is a great choice! But Gore... well I'll let someone else answer that one...

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Don't you just love it --- two filthy-rich democrats. One with massive credibility issues, and the other tossed out of his profession in disgrace...

The university is pushing my patience... Wonder how much of their own funds they will donate to the university this year?

another hate filled idiot here----Fulmer gave a million at one time and likely more------I'm sure a far greater % of his earning than you have given--probably nothing

MikeInTN writes:

Al Gore is a laughable FOOL, that couldn't even win his own state while running for President. Don't tell me Tennesseans aren't smart!!!!

RichmondKyVol writes:

Albert Gore Sr. served in the House of Representatives previously, but he was a U.S. Senator from 1953 until 1971 during most of Al's time as a school boy in Washington.

SnAp1978 writes:

So what makes them good choices?.......I couldn't figure it out from the article.

orangecountyvols writes:

The article by PF obviously still bothers Adams. No doubt noone will ever ask Adams to be a commencement speaker.

The truth is, regardless of the manner in which Phillip Fulmer went out from the program, it is now 2010 and time to move on. People who choose to dwell on the past ( including Adams ) are living in an unhealthy and unproductive existence.

I too can look back at games when we couldn't make a 3rd and 1 or 2, couldn't win games we should have, but find it's now history and am looking forward to better things, even if it may take a while.

It also may be a while before Adams writes an "un Adams" type of article. Yes, Fulmer let him have it and John is still smarting from it.

This is not endorsing Battle, Majors, Fulmer, the last one, etc. It is endorsing Tennessee football and whomever gets us where we want to go.

globalwarmingisascam writes:

You guys can't be honest? Al Gore is a disgrace to the state of Tennessee. The whole issue of carbon dioxide being bad for the environment and human beings being responsible for carbon increase is unproven if not a complete falsehood. It is nothing but a scam to try and make trillions of dollars on carbon trading via the new Chicago Climate Exchange. Who is behind this deal? Who do you think? Obama, Gore, Maurice Strong and the rest of the sky is falling crew. This is a very poor choice by the university and I hope the graduates protest by walking out during his part of the ceremony. I am very disappointed that UT honors a scam artist like Gore.

Cldvols1 writes:

IMO 2 pretty good choices!

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

If Al Gore was going to speak at my student's graduation my child would not attend. He is the most disgraceful person from the great state of Tennessee. He should be in prison!

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

"I broke the tie." Translation: I fired Fulmer. This is John's crowning achievement, and he will trumpet this as long as he lives. But we don't care. Adams will sink into oblivion as surely and totally as Lester Maddox holding his ax handle.

WereInTrouble writes:

I have lost all respect for Adams. He likes these two, huh? One built UT up to Outlaw University status and the other is a chronic lier that preys off of the American people.

charles57#1378642 writes:

Fulmer, yes!
Junior, NO!!
"Love Story?" Had NOTHING to do with Junior. I heard the author himself make that statement.
We all know, however, that Junior invented the internet!
"nuff said!

ric1958 writes:

Outback steakhouse should name a dish after ALGORE....they could call it a "Blooming Idiot."

lvhemphill#250428 writes:

Gore is never a good choice for anything

chrisw2967 writes:

Al Gore , hes nothing but a pathetic POS

onefaro writes:

"Florida's hanging chads cost Gore the 2000 presidential election."

John, once again you need to get your facts straight. If Gore had won in his own state of TN, he would not have needed Florida.

armyvol544 writes:

Are you Stupid? Gore is an idiot!!!!

arkyvol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

heyitsme writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

another hate filled idiot here----Fulmer gave a million at one time and likely more------I'm sure a far greater % of his earning than you have given--probably nothing

Actually, I'm one of the most lovable people you will never meet, and easily much smarter than you...

If you remember (and you probably don't or won't) ---- the timing of Fulmer's donation came at a time when he was under heavy scrutiny. Many said that he bought himself a little time to keep his job with the donation. You know, give a million to the university in order for the university to give him 3 million....???

I don't think that exactly qualifies as a donation. I call it buying "job security".

In 16+ years of the university paying millions, including free education for the kids, and ole Phil gave 'em a little of it back. You fell for it, "hook, line, and sinker". And you want to call me an "idiot". LMAO

TommyJack writes:

Touch'em all, Adams. Bwahahahaha

DILLON writes:

OMG its like a bad dream when are these guys going to go away? I Loved this, it was great. Keep up the great writing John. One thing is for sure he tells it like it is, can't fault him for that. The crazy thing about it is global warming is as funny as Fulmer being Head Coach again. The only difference Fulmer did prove him self unlike global warming.

eefor10c writes:

I used to think that Al Gore was the biggest idiot of all times but John Adams is getting close.

DILLON writes:

in response to globalwarmingisascam:

You guys can't be honest? Al Gore is a disgrace to the state of Tennessee. The whole issue of carbon dioxide being bad for the environment and human beings being responsible for carbon increase is unproven if not a complete falsehood. It is nothing but a scam to try and make trillions of dollars on carbon trading via the new Chicago Climate Exchange. Who is behind this deal? Who do you think? Obama, Gore, Maurice Strong and the rest of the sky is falling crew. This is a very poor choice by the university and I hope the graduates protest by walking out during his part of the ceremony. I am very disappointed that UT honors a scam artist like Gore.

WOW I'm impressed glad to see others doing their homework b/c Maurice Strong usually isn't the name ppl bring up in "global warming" conversations. Glad to see more ppl looking into this scam.

DaddyVol writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's not phooey...it's boolshid

heyitsme writes:

Next year's speakers have also been chosen - John Calipari and Bernard Madoff.

CoverOrange writes:

This shouldn't be in the sports section. Who is the op-ed editor?

b1407#207053 writes:

Technically your article answered all the who what and when questions. But the why question is lacking? Why John? Why? What and when were you thinking? Who? Should we even go there. Disappointed John.Very disappointed.

DaddyVol writes:

How bout LARRY SINCLAIR for commencement speaker. Look him up on google search. He has a lot to say.

99gator writes:

if you can stay awake during the proceedings, do you get some sort of prize?

AllforTenn writes:

So Adams goes along with the "hanging chads" excuse. What makes him think all the hanging chads were for Ozone Man? Just as many were probably for Bush. Al, this is not Gore country. This is East Tennessee. And why perpetuate the Love Story thing? Ryan O'Neal didn't flunk out of school in the movie, did he?

OrangeBlues writes:

Hey, are all GoVolsXtra commenters global warming deniers and satire haters? No. Now there's at least one who is not.

dalvol writes:

in response to iamnotDCtoo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

On the contrary, I know I'm not alone in thinking that Al Gore is an excellent, if inconvenient, choice for a commencement speaker. It's only inconvenient if you have to pull your head out of a dark place to hear what he has to say.

Bigger_Al writes:

Tuscaloosa John, if only the KNS publisher had the stones to break the tie...

coltvol33 writes:

in response to AF1A4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Shut up, Al.

windy writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You sir are a total idiot. Enough said.

windy writes:

I used to think that vols fans were smart, but all you idiots bashing Gore proved me wrong. Al Gore is the smartest person to ever come out of Tn. You idiots just keep listening to Rush
"LIMBO" and see this country go to hell.

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to globalwarmingisascam:

You guys can't be honest? Al Gore is a disgrace to the state of Tennessee. The whole issue of carbon dioxide being bad for the environment and human beings being responsible for carbon increase is unproven if not a complete falsehood. It is nothing but a scam to try and make trillions of dollars on carbon trading via the new Chicago Climate Exchange. Who is behind this deal? Who do you think? Obama, Gore, Maurice Strong and the rest of the sky is falling crew. This is a very poor choice by the university and I hope the graduates protest by walking out during his part of the ceremony. I am very disappointed that UT honors a scam artist like Gore.

I totally agree that global warming is a scam. The weather has always and will always cycle. God controls the weather, not humans.

windy writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

I totally agree that global warming is a scam. The weather has always and will always cycle. God controls the weather, not humans.

Then you are totally wrong. God also gave you a body, but if you fill it up with alcohol and drive a car and kill someone, then is that Gods fault. We are slowly destroying our planet and I can't believe people like you can't see that. God gave us the ability to make choices, good or bad. When we fill the air with polution then whos fault is it.

tree_em_smokey writes:

If the globe is warming then why does it continue to be colder than normal in certain areas? Not typical for a warming planet. They said a couple years ago that the drought we were experiencing was the fault of "global warming". Then last year we were 12 inches above normal for the year. Not typical for a warming planet. Check this out. http://www.wtvy.com/weather/headlines...

golfballs03 writes:

Al Gore is a fraud!

golfballs03 writes:

Time will show how much of a fraud Al Gore is. Al Gore is just a typical opportunistic politician.

SATCHMOE writes:

Why not Phil Fulmer and Mr.ED,cause one horses azz is as good as the other.Al the false prophet Gore.I will not be spending any money with UT soon.I am one pizzed off alum.Oh! AL Gore said, "that his favorite Bible verse was John 16:3," Please everyone read this verse and see who Al really is.

tree_em_smokey writes:

Windy, I respect your opinion and view. You have only been listening to what the media keeps telling you. They also keep telling you that this world has evolved as a result of the "big bang" yet they refuse to air programs including scientific findings, evidences etc, that clearly point to creation. National Geographic had an their front cover (can't exactly remember the date) not too long ago that it would have been impossible for Noah to build the ark according to the specs found in Gen. 6:15. We won't even consider the fact that he could have been helped by God himself. Why would God give him a task that he cannot complete? For a mean joke...not at all. In their attempt to disprove the authenticity of the bible or whatever. They can't figure out how the Egyptians built the pyramids and they know they exist. All I'm getting to is so many people try to fill us with so many things that they can't prove. And tell us it's "facts".

bobbarbilly writes:

in response to Volnupstate:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh, haven't they been doing that since the last ice age...

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