Phillip Fulmer doesn’t think he’s a candidate for AD

Former Tennessee football head coach Phillip Fulmer, his grandson J.P. Peace and former player Leonard Little share a laugh during the meet and greet at the a3 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Willow Creek Golf Club in West Knoxville Friday, June 17, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Former Tennessee football head coach Phillip Fulmer, his grandson J.P. Peace and former player Leonard Little share a laugh during the meet and greet at the a3 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Willow Creek Golf Club in West Knoxville Friday, June 17, 2011.

Former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer talks about the athletic director opening at UT

Like any alumnus, Phillip Fulmer can’t wait to see who becomes the University of Tennessee’s new athletic director.

The former UT football coach said Friday he doesn’t expect it to be him.

While a number of his supporters and former players have worked behind the scenes to champion his cause as Mike Hamilton’s replacement, Fulmer didn’t sound like he was stumping for the job during a visit to the a3 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Willow Creek.

“I don’t think I’ll be one of the guys they’ll even consider,’’ Fulmer said, “because they’re probably looking for a sitting athletic director, more than likely.

“And that’s good. That’s no problem. I’m just interested to see who it’s going to be.’’

Fulmer was forced out during the 2008 season. His 152 career wins at UT rank second only to Robert Neyland.

He was succeeded by Lane Kiffin in 2009, then Derek Dooley in 2010.

In the past three months, UT also has fired popular basketball coach Bruce Pearl and baseball coach Todd Raleigh.

Now the university, under the direction of a new president and relatively new chancellor, is replacing Hamilton, who resigned last week. The new AD will inherit a program awaiting NCAA sanctions to be announced later this summer.

“It’s one of the most important hires that has happened in our history,’’ Fulmer said, “to kind of help us dig out of the hole we’ve gotten ourselves into, from a lot of fronts.’’

Fulmer, who ran UT’s football program from 1993-2008, said what UT needs more than anything is stable leadership.

“I was blessed to be here at a time when there was so much stability,’’ Fulmer said.

“(President) Joe Johnson was an unbelievable leader. (AD) Doug Dickey was an unbelievable leader. . . . We were all a team and that’s what we’ve got to get it back to.

“I think we’ve got a good president and chancellor. ... Those are important pieces to this puzzle and now we’ve got to get the same thing in whoever the athletic director is.’’

Fulmer works in the financial business and does analysis for the CBS College Sports channel. A return to coaching appears to be a ship that has sailed.

But, he noted, any number of former coaches have made successful transitions into athletic administration.

“If you look around the country,’’ he said, “Barry Alvarez is running as good a program (at Wisconsin) as anybody in the country. Because he understands.’’

Mike Strange covers University of Tennessee athletics. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http:/blogs.knoxnews.com/Strange.

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Comments » 68

shipperman#280095 writes:

Sorry Walt, bless your heart

idiot writes:

Phillip are both alumni.We both bleed orange.I agree with everything he says and hope he is right.

uttcut writes:

We could do worse...like Hammy

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor believe he smart enough to know this isnt a fun-sports job but rather that of a bean counter.
Bones never lie.

CrankE writes:

Besides, being AD would be a pay cut from the 3 remaining years of buyout. Right?

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to uttcut:

We could do worse...like Hammy

Hiring Fulmer would be jumping out of the skillet into the FIRE .

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

I like Joan, she's not gonna get hired, but she should be the example of an a.d that they should look for.

Vol43 writes:

Wouldn't hurt my feelings if she stayed as AD.

VOLliven2it writes:

While I cringe a little at the thought, I am not convinced having Phil Fulmer at this time and in this spot is a bad idea. As we move on from all the fallout especially for bb and maybe fb, we need someone who is solid and is ALL VOL. A lot of the candidates our $90,000 group will find may be solid but we cannot be sure they will come in ALL VOL. I am positively NO EXPERT but one loyal fan who loves the University of Tennessee and wants what is best at this time and for the future. So all you Fulmerhaters, pile it on but be careful what you wish for(NOTPHIL), in getting it you may get something or someone less than up for the job. By the way, do you have complete confidence in this search with Mr. Cheek looking over the shoulders of the group involved? I sure don't!

JJMcCleskey writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TheOpinion writes:

You know what bugs me and has always bugged me about Fulmer? That he acts like he has this huge pull with the university. As if he has to approve of the person they hire. Listen man stop being cocky and just stay out of the way. Dude loves the spotlight even more now because he hasn't seen it in 4 years.

TXVOLnSA writes:

I imagine he's already gotten the word that there's too many people out there that don't want him and he is dividing the fan base when what we need is a united fan base. And yes, it needs to be someone that has a proven track record of an athletic director, not a wanna be.

OwensboroVol writes:

The new personnel policy at UT seems to be "UT Graduates need not apply". Jimmy Cheek seems to think that UT Graduates are not qualified for anything. If I resided in Tennessee I think I would start contacting my State Senator or Representative about this.

al2476 writes:

in response to dwolfcreek#397971:

Hiring Fulmer would be jumping out of the skillet into the FIRE .

Speaking of jumping into a fire, firing Fulmer and the hire of Hamilton was the worst fire that Ut was ever been in. When Hammy fired Fulmer it started all this mess UT is in now. Fulmer can and would get this ship back upright once again. For the life of the real UT fans why do people like yourself have such distain for Fulmer. He brought a national title to Ut and it will be the last one for quite a long spell. He done a great job. Just look at his win/loss record. Enough said.

spencer1989#206886 writes:

Yoooohoooooo....Walt. Where you at man?!?! Here's you a fresh article.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TXVOLnSA:

I imagine he's already gotten the word that there's too many people out there that don't want him and he is dividing the fan base when what we need is a united fan base. And yes, it needs to be someone that has a proven track record of an athletic director, not a wanna be.

Nailed it.

kcbigorngX writes:

Coach Fulmer did his job at UT and has been rewarded handsomely.

When a program becomes stagnant, change is inevitable. CPF knows this as well as anybody because that is how he moved into the position of head coach behind John Majors, who is one of the greatest football heroes in Tennessee history.

That change was a bloody mess; Fulmer's firing was just as bad, the big difference was a turd named kiffen in the picture. Now Hamilton paid the price and he is gone.

It's a cutthroat world out there and changing the guard, while not always so good, is inevitable.

Progress through change can only be made by looking forward, and never through the rear view mirror.

Thank you Phil for all your hard work and enjoy your retirement. You have all the respect of those who truly bleed Orange.

VolnTex writes:

in response to TXVOLnSA:

I imagine he's already gotten the word that there's too many people out there that don't want him and he is dividing the fan base when what we need is a united fan base. And yes, it needs to be someone that has a proven track record of an athletic director, not a wanna be.

Can you explain how Fulmer is "dividing the fan base"? The media asks him questions and he answers them. Do you think he invites them over for supper? He doesn't come on here and comment or start web pages or blogs or any of that. He answers questions and people like you get bent out of shape about it. If all he said was "no comment" I'm sure you would find a way to make that divisive as well.

OrangePride writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

I like Joan, she's not gonna get hired, but she should be the example of an a.d that they should look for.

As Joan is on the search committee, that rules her out as a candidate. But were she interested, she certainly would be someone worthy of a very strong look. She's been impressive to date.

OrangePride writes:

in response to VolnTex:

Can you explain how Fulmer is "dividing the fan base"? The media asks him questions and he answers them. Do you think he invites them over for supper? He doesn't come on here and comment or start web pages or blogs or any of that. He answers questions and people like you get bent out of shape about it. If all he said was "no comment" I'm sure you would find a way to make that divisive as well.

Fulmer's actions and the way he is handling things are not dividing the fan base in any way. But, if you read these and other posts, you can see that the fan base is already sharply divided on him. Right or wrong in those opinions (and I personally think he'd do a great job as AD), TXVOL is correct in suggesting that right now we need someone who will unite everyone and heal this program. Sad to see a man who loves and gave so much to the University treated the way he has by some.

Go4Two writes:

I have never seen a fan base so vile against a future hall of fame coach. Heck the Sooner fans have more repect for Barry S. he is loved in that state despite the gun fights and probations. But for some reason we have a group of fans that think little of CPF. My guess is time will cure this problem and of course losing.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to Go4Two:

I have never seen a fan base so vile against a future hall of fame coach. Heck the Sooner fans have more repect for Barry S. he is loved in that state despite the gun fights and probations. But for some reason we have a group of fans that think little of CPF. My guess is time will cure this problem and of course losing.

In 50/60 years, Fulmer will be spoken of in the same conversation with Neyland and Majors. All of these posters as well as me will simply be dead & forgotten Vol fans. Philip is part of an illustrious Volunteer heritage. I am happy to be an alum.GBO

VolnPickwick writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Fulmer's actions and the way he is handling things are not dividing the fan base in any way. But, if you read these and other posts, you can see that the fan base is already sharply divided on him. Right or wrong in those opinions (and I personally think he'd do a great job as AD), TXVOL is correct in suggesting that right now we need someone who will unite everyone and heal this program. Sad to see a man who loves and gave so much to the University treated the way he has by some.

The fact that the program needed change is not the argument, but I too have a problem figuring out why Fulmer is soo hated by this group of "fans". Majors once said in an interview with the local news that every fan base comes with it's own legion of the misserable, one's who will never be happy. And as for his buyout, that was another Hammy decision, not Fulmer, so if your giong to beat that dead horse, at least get your facts straight! And once and for all, move on to new things, I'm positive ya'll can find someone new to hate.

HoustonVol writes:

I think Joan would be a great choice. She is already "retiring" in 2012. This will allow her to manage the penalties and set the stage for merging the two departments. Then we can hire a long term director that will know the cards that he/she is dealt. Plus with both major coaches being 3-4 years into their contracts, if the new AD feels that changes need to be made, then he/she can make them.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to VolnTex:

Can you explain how Fulmer is "dividing the fan base"? The media asks him questions and he answers them. Do you think he invites them over for supper? He doesn't come on here and comment or start web pages or blogs or any of that. He answers questions and people like you get bent out of shape about it. If all he said was "no comment" I'm sure you would find a way to make that divisive as well.

Its obvious. There is a large group that never liked him for taking over for Majors and there is another large group that wanted him fired since 01 when he couldnt win another SEC/National title and they've spent years complaining and downing Fulmer. Now that this is the 3rd year he wont be coach those same people still continue to down/blame him for things and will never see how good of a coach he really was because they have spent years having so much contempt for him, and dont want him to have anything to do with UT. It's a shame really.

Go4Two writes:

in response to VolnPickwick:

The fact that the program needed change is not the argument, but I too have a problem figuring out why Fulmer is soo hated by this group of "fans". Majors once said in an interview with the local news that every fan base comes with it's own legion of the misserable, one's who will never be happy. And as for his buyout, that was another Hammy decision, not Fulmer, so if your giong to beat that dead horse, at least get your facts straight! And once and for all, move on to new things, I'm positive ya'll can find someone new to hate.

Coach Majors also had a great line. " the higher you get on the flag pole the harder the wind blows". I think this sums up what happened to coach Fulmer. He set the bar so high I think at one point we had a run of 43-5 you just can't perform at that level. History at Tennessee tells us we have several avg to good seasons a bad one sprinkled in but a few great seasons. See 60's, 70's, 80's. Coach Fulmer changed that patten in the 90's with the 2000's retuning to more of a normal pattern.

Go4Two writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Its obvious. There is a large group that never liked him for taking over for Majors and there is another large group that wanted him fired since 01 when he couldnt win another SEC/National title and they've spent years complaining and downing Fulmer. Now that this is the 3rd year he wont be coach those same people still continue to down/blame him for things and will never see how good of a coach he really was because they have spent years having so much contempt for him, and dont want him to have anything to do with UT. It's a shame really.

Good post you are right these are the same fans that complained about going to the SEC championship game and losing. Well that problem has been solved.

givehim6 writes:

I think UT is trying to get away from the " good ol' boy image, and get a more professional image. And phil defiantly has the good ol' boy look anb fill to him. Nothng wrong with this just not what UT wants.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to al2476:

Speaking of jumping into a fire, firing Fulmer and the hire of Hamilton was the worst fire that Ut was ever been in. When Hammy fired Fulmer it started all this mess UT is in now. Fulmer can and would get this ship back upright once again. For the life of the real UT fans why do people like yourself have such distain for Fulmer. He brought a national title to Ut and it will be the last one for quite a long spell. He done a great job. Just look at his win/loss record. Enough said.

Please pay attention. Fulmer won, or lucked into one NC, and we didn't win one single SEC after that. As for his won loss record, the last 7 years against the top 25 was .381.
And lastly, Hamilton did NOT fire him, the Governor's daddy did

wagee12 writes:

Haw, haw X10. Chubby Chekcerboard snubbed. Will UT survive, will Knoxville survive, will the nation survive? This is the best news of the week, month and 2011. Big Pappa Plump won't be able to get his greedy little fingers on another UT contract!

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Its obvious. There is a large group that never liked him for taking over for Majors and there is another large group that wanted him fired since 01 when he couldnt win another SEC/National title and they've spent years complaining and downing Fulmer. Now that this is the 3rd year he wont be coach those same people still continue to down/blame him for things and will never see how good of a coach he really was because they have spent years having so much contempt for him, and dont want him to have anything to do with UT. It's a shame really.

It is also apparent that only his loyal followers, and not UT fans are the only ones who see him as that great. No other schools have

shipperman#280095 writes:

The one I feel sorry for is Walt

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

It is also apparent that only his loyal followers, and not UT fans are the only ones who see him as that great. No other schools have

shipperman are you sure about that? Have you bugged his phone and know for sure no other school has called?

Just because he is not coaching or you haven't heard of anything doesn't mean those phone calls don't come. My guess is they have and he has turned them down.

Also keep in mind the few haters that post on these boards do not represent the majority of the fans that pull for Tennessee.

You posters that are full of hate for Phil Fulmer need to get over it and let it go! It's time to move on already you are really embarrassing yourselves by contining your unnecessary assault on him.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to TheOpinion:

You know what bugs me and has always bugged me about Fulmer? That he acts like he has this huge pull with the university. As if he has to approve of the person they hire. Listen man stop being cocky and just stay out of the way. Dude loves the spotlight even more now because he hasn't seen it in 4 years.

Just to be fair I didnt get that feeling from Phil at all.....Seemed extremely laid back and relaxed about the whole deal....

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

shipperman are you sure about that? Have you bugged his phone and know for sure no other school has called?

Just because he is not coaching or you haven't heard of anything doesn't mean those phone calls don't come. My guess is they have and he has turned them down.

Also keep in mind the few haters that post on these boards do not represent the majority of the fans that pull for Tennessee.

You posters that are full of hate for Phil Fulmer need to get over it and let it go! It's time to move on already you are really embarrassing yourselves by contining your unnecessary assault on him.

And you Fulmer worshippers that are Phil fans instead of UT fans need to get over it as well. And yes, Foolmore expressed interest in both the Louisville and Minnesota jobs, and wasn't even a token consideration. One more fact: In his last ten years, Fulmer had a winning percentage of .381 against the top 25. Never could beat the likes of Saban, Meyer, and rarely Richt and Spurrier

Colliervol writes:

in response to al2476:

Speaking of jumping into a fire, firing Fulmer and the hire of Hamilton was the worst fire that Ut was ever been in. When Hammy fired Fulmer it started all this mess UT is in now. Fulmer can and would get this ship back upright once again. For the life of the real UT fans why do people like yourself have such distain for Fulmer. He brought a national title to Ut and it will be the last one for quite a long spell. He done a great job. Just look at his win/loss record. Enough said.

Not nearly "enough said". Win/loss record or even being a coach has NOTHING to do with being a modern day athletic director. Maybe back in the olden days, but not now. This ain't your daddy's NCAA sports anymore.

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolnTex:

Can you explain how Fulmer is "dividing the fan base"? The media asks him questions and he answers them. Do you think he invites them over for supper? He doesn't come on here and comment or start web pages or blogs or any of that. He answers questions and people like you get bent out of shape about it. If all he said was "no comment" I'm sure you would find a way to make that divisive as well.

Doesn't really matter how he's done it. Read any poll you like or talk to any group of Vol fans you like. 50% want him and 50% don't. And, in my view, that is the definition of a fractured fan base that needs repairing. Sad to say it but hiring Phil ain't going to fix the crack.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can't add much to that one Naval. It is what it is and some folks just don't understand it. The optimum word is that he HAD a great run. That run ended around 2000. How some folks can forget the downward spiral we were in is a mystery to me.

BillsBrother writes:

in response to TXVOLnSA:

I imagine he's already gotten the word that there's too many people out there that don't want him and he is dividing the fan base when what we need is a united fan base. And yes, it needs to be someone that has a proven track record of an athletic director, not a wanna be.

Previous AD experience is probably the most overated qualification that VOL fans seek.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And you would be strongly incorrect. i am 54 years old and have attended games for 40 of those years. Phil's time was up, just as Majors' time was up. That is why it is difficult to hire from in house, they don't know when to hang it up. Also, Phil is not an experienced AD, so what is your point? This is the University of Tennessee. If you want a U of Fulmer, build one and take his worthless arse with you

Colliervol writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I wouldn't be so presumptuous if I were you. I've been watching and pulling for UT sports for around 50 years now since my Dad took me to my first football game. No "bragging rights" needed for me. I'm a lifelong Vol and don't need titles to keep me in that category.

What I don't get is that that a lot of Phil's ardent fans want to act like the years from 2004 to 2008 were no problem at all and that he was just as motivated and as competent as he was in the '90's. The record does not show that, on the field or off the field. And NOBODY can debate that point. Old posters will tell you that I was one of the last defenders to abandon the wall with Phil. But there was no way to defend the program any longer. The change had to be made.

As stated, it wouldn't kill me to see Phil as AD. I just think there are better, more experienced candidates out there. And I fully believe that we need to get outside the family.

al2476 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Please pay attention. Fulmer won, or lucked into one NC, and we didn't win one single SEC after that. As for his won loss record, the last 7 years against the top 25 was .381.
And lastly, Hamilton did NOT fire him, the Governor's daddy did

My question to you is what has the coaching staffs done since his departure. We are in worse shape than we have been in since before Coach Dickey took over. Another thing is you need to pay attention also , I was there when Hammy fired Fulmer. It was not Haslam that fired him. He really liked coach Fulmer.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

I wouldn't be so presumptuous if I were you. I've been watching and pulling for UT sports for around 50 years now since my Dad took me to my first football game. No "bragging rights" needed for me. I'm a lifelong Vol and don't need titles to keep me in that category.

What I don't get is that that a lot of Phil's ardent fans want to act like the years from 2004 to 2008 were no problem at all and that he was just as motivated and as competent as he was in the '90's. The record does not show that, on the field or off the field. And NOBODY can debate that point. Old posters will tell you that I was one of the last defenders to abandon the wall with Phil. But there was no way to defend the program any longer. The change had to be made.

As stated, it wouldn't kill me to see Phil as AD. I just think there are better, more experienced candidates out there. And I fully believe that we need to get outside the family.

From 2004-2008, yes there were 2 bad seasons. Also, 2 trips to Atlanta and another 10 win season. Tell the whole story guys,not just what suits you.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to al2476:

My question to you is what has the coaching staffs done since his departure. We are in worse shape than we have been in since before Coach Dickey took over. Another thing is you need to pay attention also , I was there when Hammy fired Fulmer. It was not Haslam that fired him. He really liked coach Fulmer.

Naturally Hamilton did the firing, but not of his own choice. Haslem called the shots, Hamilton followed orders, just as he did with firing Pearl

al2476 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Not nearly "enough said". Win/loss record or even being a coach has NOTHING to do with being a modern day athletic director. Maybe back in the olden days, but not now. This ain't your daddy's NCAA sports anymore.

Look at what the last modern day AD (Hamilton) has done for the program. Now enough said.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to VolnTex:

Can you explain how Fulmer is "dividing the fan base"? The media asks him questions and he answers them. Do you think he invites them over for supper? He doesn't come on here and comment or start web pages or blogs or any of that. He answers questions and people like you get bent out of shape about it. If all he said was "no comment" I'm sure you would find a way to make that divisive as well.

There is still a group of fans that believe Fulmer stabbed Majors in the back when he had his heart surgery!!!

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

There is still a group of fans that believe Fulmer stabbed Majors in the back when he had his heart surgery!!!

Johnny stabbed his own self in the heart from 1991 to 1992. He cussed out Col. Tom Elam, showed up drunk to university functions, drank to wake up in the morning, drank to unconsciousness doggone near every night and usually had to be driven home, and don't even get me started with what he did during halftime of the 1992 Fiesta Bowl. If you know any former players from that game, ask them.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know, at most major universities, they build statues and memorialize coaches that win national championships. Here at Tennessee, we p@#s on their names, insult them, and ask them to go away. And fire them 11 months after a SECCG appearance. We dont even put their picture in or on the stadium. That honor is reserved for a drunk old man who dogged out his alma mater for 16 YEARS on radio and TV. At Tennessee, we allow a loud mouth punk to land our program on probation, while we clap loudly and holler "Get 'em". We allow the AD to bring in coaches who are already involved in a NCAA investigation at another school, and we call it "fresh blood". We allow our head basketball coach to lie to the NCAA, and keep him for another season. And UT wonders why it is losing donors at an alarming rate. The last two seasons are the first time since the 1980s that I remember tickets being available through the ticket office for the home opener. Great change, huh? When the NCAA drops the hammer on this place, karma will be served.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to mrkirker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Joan has been AD a quarter century for the Lady Vols. I didn't much like the idea at first. Now I think she deserves to be on the list.

VolinVirginia writes:

ENOUGH!

"Phillip Fulmer doesn’t think he’s a candidate for AD," and I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment.

It's time to turn the page, folks.

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