John Adams: Fulmer selection reminds UT fans of better days

John Adams

Phillip Fulmer named to College Football Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame selections rarely create a controversy. Omissions are more likely to do that.

Coaches and players with robust enough resumes to be considered for induction are generally accepted without so much as a raised eyebrow's worth of indignation.

So no one should question Phillip Fulmer's selection to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. It was as predictable as a victory over Kentucky when he was leading Tennessee football through the "T."

Nor is it surprising that he was deemed worthy of induction so soon after his coaching career came to an abrupt end in 2008. The record leaves no room for debate: 152-52-1, including 16 full seasons and a fraction of a season as replacement coach while his boss, John Majors, was recovering from heart surgery in 1992.

The record is more striking now than in the 1990s during which Fulmer went 45-5 in one Neyland-like, four-year stretch that — when contrasted with what's going on lately in UT football — seems as though it must have been accomplished in another football universe.

The rich history clashes with the present failure, and Fulmer played a major role in both. Although he was fired after two losing seasons in his last four years, that's not likely how he will be remembered.

Most successful coaches don't finish on top. Nebraska's Tom Osborne is a glowing exception. He won a national championship in his last game.

But the SEC provides considerable evidence that hall of fame coaches seldom say their good-byes with a walk-off home run.

Shug Jordan won a national championship, had two unbeaten teams and finished in the top 10 seven times in 25 seasons at Auburn. He went 4-6-1 his last season.

LSU's Charlie McClendon lost more than three games only twice in his first 12 seasons. He lost four or more in five of his last six seasons.

From 1957 through 1963, Johnny Vaught compiled a 64-7-4 record at Ole Miss. In his final seven full seasons, the Rebels were 48-26-3.

Jordan, McClendon and Vaught are all in the College Football Hall of Fame. Now, to the surprise of no one, Fulmer has joined them.

His selection isn't just an individual award. It honors his players, assistant coaches and even the head coach who preceded him.

Majors had the Vols humming along at a better than nine-victories-per-year pace over his last four seasons. Fulmer took it from there. winning nine or more games in six of his first seven seasons.

He quickly established himself as one of college football's marquee recruiters while assembling a staff that was almost comparable to his talent.

Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and defensive coordinator John Chavis were his high-profile assistant coaches. But don't forget about short-term contributors like Rodney Garner. He helped recruit three Georgia high school players — Jamal Lewis, Deon Grant and Cosey Coleman — whose footprints are embedded in UT's 13-0 national championship season in 1998.

Fulmer didn't need a national championship to make the hall of fame. His overall record warranted induction. Yet his success against arch-rival Alabama was every bit as endearing to UT fans.

The Vols hadn't beaten the Tide since 1985 when Fulmer presided over a 41-14 victory 10 years later in Birmingham. It was the first of seven consecutive Tennessee victories in the series.

Phillip Fulmer on plans for the future

Fulmer turned the Alabama rivalry topsy-turvy, achieved an unbeaten season and won almost 75 percent of his games. That's how most UT fans will remember him.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 82

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Good piece JA. Congrats Phil!

DalTexVol writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

On this one day, can't you give it a rest?

Huttdawg100 writes:

Jack Arute has a radio show on Sirius/XM, and I happened to catch him between interviews with RC Slocum and Coach Fulmer. He hit on a point that I think is valid: Nebraska and Michigan both had their share of lows recently. He said that Dooley to Tennessee is what Rich Rod was to Michigan and Bill Calahan was to Nebraska.

That said, Fulmer came on and defended Dooley and was extremely supportive of the way Dooley is handling the program. Was it just being nice? IDK. But he said all the right things. Congrats Coach Fulmer.

givehim6 writes:

Kinda hard to believe 8 or 10 years ago the same words being spoken in anger now about CDD were being said about CPF, now Phil is being seen as the great man. The more things change the more they stay the stay the same.

tovolny writes:

Adams highlights the negativity even in his Headline. This item from Adams did not seem to honor Fulmer as much as he designed it to dishonor UT. Even SLAPPED us again with the Kentucky failure. WHY COULDN'T HE HAVE WRITTEN A PIECE THAT WOULD HAVE PRESENTED THE REASONS FOR FULMER"S INDUCTION. I agree that Fulmer should have been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. He did an outstanding job coaching until the last 5 years. I, somehow, could feel it slipping away. I agree that he should have been fired, but I still like Fulmer because I feel he is a good person...he just decided to slack off from coaching. If he wanted to spend more time with his grand children, perhaps he should have resigned. His slacking off resulted in the Kiffen ordeal and will be punching us in the face for a few more years. I am glad we now have Dooley at the helm. Dooley will get things worked out because he is doing it one brick at a time. Dooley appears to have class, style, and outstanding football savvy. Some posters on this site have come up with all kinds of nicknames or names playing on his last name. Some of these, of course, are not UT fans, but some ARE. Discrediting Dooley also discredits UT and does not do much to help us recruit. It is sad, but a fact, that the fans complaining the most know the least about football. I hope they can just remember that it takes fantastic support from the fans for a team to be fantastic. I really believe that our fan support throughout the last hundred years is the main reason that the history of UT football is FANTASTIC.

Some people that I have spoken with think that the fans just misunderstand Adams. They say he enjoys being misunderstood and KNS thinks he is a good ole chum that stirs up the fans creating more readers of ' GoVolsxtra.' Again let me say: this is GoVolsXtra and the 'Go” should be an indication that KNS supports the Vols. The Columbus Dispatch has 'BuckeyeXtra' and they do a wonderful job supporting Ohio State. They do not have a reporter that scrapes them or a reporter that shows and creates negative items about the Buckeyes. I think we would be better off without Adams trying to be a clown and poking fun at us while trying to put UT in as bad of light as he can.

AncientVolFan writes:

I find myself concerned that UT is not a top ten football program. I worry that Majors and then Fulmer did an incredible job of keeping us higher than we should be for a period.
I think perhaps that Fulmer merely reverted to the norm in his last 3 seasons rather than hurting the program. For this reason I believe he fully deserves the honor. For UT fans the future may be difficult. I hope, of course, I am wrong. We will be good, just not great.

bosscat writes:

How quickly we forget. I, for one, will never forgive Adams for going on Paul Finebaum's radio show and throwing fuel on Finebaum's bonfire while Finebaum was dancing and shouting about "Fat Phil". Adams makes noise for the sake of making noise. The more people he gets fired up, the better he likes it. If he was tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail, I would be plucking feathers off of more chickens. Finebaum's UT diploma should be stamped VOID and given to Adams to deliver to Alabama personally along with his belongings. Anyone that thinks he is any more than a rag writer needs to research what the man has said and written over the years.

Timbo_Slice writes:

Great article! Coach Fulmer did a great job while in his prime and, no doubt deserves this honor! However, this article shows that even Hall of Fame coaches start to slip toward the end of their careers. Would we be better off right now if Fulmer was still the head coach? Probably. Could he have turned things around to the way they were in the 90's? We will never know for sure, but history tells us no, he probably couldn't. Everybody needs to get over it and back the coach we have now! He has done a nice job of rebuilding the roster, now let's see if he can get us back to the glory days. Go Vols!

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

You guys jump on Adams even if he talks good about Fulmer. Your like a bunch of left wing liberals. You want to shift everything to meet your agenda.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to AncientVolFan:

I find myself concerned that UT is not a top ten football program. I worry that Majors and then Fulmer did an incredible job of keeping us higher than we should be for a period.
I think perhaps that Fulmer merely reverted to the norm in his last 3 seasons rather than hurting the program. For this reason I believe he fully deserves the honor. For UT fans the future may be difficult. I hope, of course, I am wrong. We will be good, just not great.

Finally....someone gets it. UT football is a top 25 program and nothing more. A less than average coach recruiting average talent with average results.

Couchdummy writes:

It would have been nice for Adams/KNS to celebrate an achievement rather than use this award as a launching pad for identifying career lowlights for Phillip Fulmer. I consider this article to be the ultimate KNS lefthanded compliment. Totally classless journalism.

ODA751 writes:

in response to bosscat:

How quickly we forget. I, for one, will never forgive Adams for going on Paul Finebaum's radio show and throwing fuel on Finebaum's bonfire while Finebaum was dancing and shouting about "Fat Phil". Adams makes noise for the sake of making noise. The more people he gets fired up, the better he likes it. If he was tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail, I would be plucking feathers off of more chickens. Finebaum's UT diploma should be stamped VOID and given to Adams to deliver to Alabama personally along with his belongings. Anyone that thinks he is any more than a rag writer needs to research what the man has said and written over the years.

Couldn't have said it any better myself. John Adams had a personal vendetta against Coach Fulmer and KNS gave him the platform and support to say and write pure garbage. KNS defended itself by saying Adams only wrote "opinion" pieces and therefore didn't need to back his work up with facts. This is the first Adams article I've read in years but I wanted to see if he would actually honor Coach Fulmer. Same old Adams. Can't believe that KNS still employs that hack.

gc_scvol writes:

Once again Mr. Adams shows his clASS !

easleychuck writes:

Adams really loves him some Coach Fulmer:).

Coach Fulmer is still more relevant than Adams and he doesn't even have a full-time job.

Poor Adams, such a sad little troll.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Adams is at adamsj@knoxnews.com.

If anyone is interested. I wrote him on several occasions and guess what? His reply
was about as arrogant as you might expect.

When he isn't coming up with this type article, Adams needs to read GVX himself to observe what the readers think of his feeble efforts. Who knows, maybe one of the familiar trolls here in disguise writes for him on occasion.

SevenT writes:

Tennessee Football may NEVER be anywhere near what it was under Fulmer. Love him or hate him, Fulmer was perhaps the best recruiterThe 1-7 SEC record is the writing on the wall for things to come for the next 10+ seasons. If you ask me the anti-Fulmer / Doolaid Drinkers are getting their just due.

Just Sayin

Butterbeans writes:

We may never regain the glory days Phillip brought us. Thanks Coach, and congratulations.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to tovolny:

Adams highlights the negativity even in his Headline. This item from Adams did not seem to honor Fulmer as much as he designed it to dishonor UT. Even SLAPPED us again with the Kentucky failure. WHY COULDN'T HE HAVE WRITTEN A PIECE THAT WOULD HAVE PRESENTED THE REASONS FOR FULMER"S INDUCTION. I agree that Fulmer should have been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. He did an outstanding job coaching until the last 5 years. I, somehow, could feel it slipping away. I agree that he should have been fired, but I still like Fulmer because I feel he is a good person...he just decided to slack off from coaching. If he wanted to spend more time with his grand children, perhaps he should have resigned. His slacking off resulted in the Kiffen ordeal and will be punching us in the face for a few more years. I am glad we now have Dooley at the helm. Dooley will get things worked out because he is doing it one brick at a time. Dooley appears to have class, style, and outstanding football savvy. Some posters on this site have come up with all kinds of nicknames or names playing on his last name. Some of these, of course, are not UT fans, but some ARE. Discrediting Dooley also discredits UT and does not do much to help us recruit. It is sad, but a fact, that the fans complaining the most know the least about football. I hope they can just remember that it takes fantastic support from the fans for a team to be fantastic. I really believe that our fan support throughout the last hundred years is the main reason that the history of UT football is FANTASTIC.

Some people that I have spoken with think that the fans just misunderstand Adams. They say he enjoys being misunderstood and KNS thinks he is a good ole chum that stirs up the fans creating more readers of ' GoVolsxtra.' Again let me say: this is GoVolsXtra and the 'Go” should be an indication that KNS supports the Vols. The Columbus Dispatch has 'BuckeyeXtra' and they do a wonderful job supporting Ohio State. They do not have a reporter that scrapes them or a reporter that shows and creates negative items about the Buckeyes. I think we would be better off without Adams trying to be a clown and poking fun at us while trying to put UT in as bad of light as he can.

If you dislike Adams so much, why would you continue to read his articles? As far as the Kentucky loss, the UT family needs to be reminded of probably the lowest point in the last 50 years of football at Tennessee. The loss to a team without a QB is inexcusable anytime any place.

FanNotSheep writes:

The media -- and many so-called fans -- live to tear down people who try to do great things. They create controversy to achieve their own goals and never stop to think about the damage done to the ones they are tearing down.

Fulmer led UT to its best modern day run, and never got the credit. He was always seen as a guy blessed with talent who couldn't really coach. The guy who tried to match wits with Spurrier and never quite matched up. But Fulmer was the one who hired and/or promoted Cutcliffe, Chavis and Rodney Garner. He was the one who went into the living rooms and signed the players that brought us the national championship.

So it's great that he has been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Too bad there is no Sports Hall of Fame for Whining Critics. I could think of so many people who would get in on the first ballot.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to AncientVolFan:

I find myself concerned that UT is not a top ten football program. I worry that Majors and then Fulmer did an incredible job of keeping us higher than we should be for a period.
I think perhaps that Fulmer merely reverted to the norm in his last 3 seasons rather than hurting the program. For this reason I believe he fully deserves the honor. For UT fans the future may be difficult. I hope, of course, I am wrong. We will be good, just not great.

You're wrong. We have too much money. We have too much tradition. We have a stadium that's too big. We have too much history.

The fact of the matter is: Mike Hamilton was completely inept as a leader. His employees didn't fear him, and he let the inmates run the asylum. He fell asleep at the wheel, and he ran a maybach into the ditch.

But make no mistakes about it. Tennessee football will rise again.

born2ride writes:

Dooley will never make the hall of fame.

Vol43 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee Football may NEVER be anywhere near what it was under Fulmer. Love him or hate him, Fulmer was perhaps the best recruiterThe 1-7 SEC record is the writing on the wall for things to come for the next 10+ seasons. If you ask me the anti-Fulmer / Doolaid Drinkers are getting their just due.

Just Sayin

Specifically, who is your target audience?

bigfan865 writes:

I am thankful for all CPF did for TN and glad he is getting this honor. BUT...some of you act like he was fired, undeservingly, after winning a NC. Have you forgotten that while we did beat KY his last year, it took 4 overtimes! Not exactly dominating! CPF lost his edge as a coach and the developer of his top recruiting classes. His personality and reputation got good players to TN but he quit coaching them up. It was time for him to go. Don't blame Dooley for any of that. Dooley inherited a mess from Kiffin who had inherited an empty pantry from Fulmer. Congrats to CPF on this honor. Good luck to CDD on getting us back as a top program.

Pullingguard writes:

Great recognition for Fulmer who deserves every kind word for what he did at UT. Great record and a super representative for the University. Watching him after the games in the dressing room one could understand why the players were motivated.. He was down to earth, clebrating with the players, being loud and wild and making it a team thing from top to bottom.. I wish Dooley the best, but he needs to shake his conservative shackles and let his hair down and relate to the players more. Just maybe he will do that starting in 2012 season.
Fulmer deserved everything he got from UT and better as he left their landscape..

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

You're wrong. We have too much money. We have too much tradition. We have a stadium that's too big. We have too much history.

The fact of the matter is: Mike Hamilton was completely inept as a leader. His employees didn't fear him, and he let the inmates run the asylum. He fell asleep at the wheel, and he ran a maybach into the ditch.

But make no mistakes about it. Tennessee football will rise again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Usx-...

And thanks to modern technology (phone cameras), we were able to catch a glimpse of Hamilton hard at work as UT AD. This video gives a perfect example of what his goal was as UT AD.

As for the rest of your post, I completely agree. UT ranks top 10 in nearly every major category all time. That didn't just happen by accident.

Vol43 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

The media -- and many so-called fans -- live to tear down people who try to do great things. They create controversy to achieve their own goals and never stop to think about the damage done to the ones they are tearing down.

Fulmer led UT to its best modern day run, and never got the credit. He was always seen as a guy blessed with talent who couldn't really coach. The guy who tried to match wits with Spurrier and never quite matched up. But Fulmer was the one who hired and/or promoted Cutcliffe, Chavis and Rodney Garner. He was the one who went into the living rooms and signed the players that brought us the national championship.

So it's great that he has been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Too bad there is no Sports Hall of Fame for Whining Critics. I could think of so many people who would get in on the first ballot.

I thought very highly of Coach Fulmer and was proud to have him represent the school. A man of great personal attributes, but I wonder. What was going through Phil's mind in those closing days as coach? Surely he was aware of the declining situation with the football program. Did he think he was bullett proof? Perhaps he thought the program would just somehow self-heal and return to the days of glory. I don't know what was going through his head, and I guess we'll never know. Phil's an intelligent man, but it seems to me he didn't have a plan which left him in a regrettable and vulnerable position. Maybe one day, he'll right a book.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to bigfan865:

I am thankful for all CPF did for TN and glad he is getting this honor. BUT...some of you act like he was fired, undeservingly, after winning a NC. Have you forgotten that while we did beat KY his last year, it took 4 overtimes! Not exactly dominating! CPF lost his edge as a coach and the developer of his top recruiting classes. His personality and reputation got good players to TN but he quit coaching them up. It was time for him to go. Don't blame Dooley for any of that. Dooley inherited a mess from Kiffin who had inherited an empty pantry from Fulmer. Congrats to CPF on this honor. Good luck to CDD on getting us back as a top program.

It didn't take him 4 OTs to beat UK his last season. That in itself discredits the rest of your post. Sounds like a backhanded attempt to justify Dooley losing to UK...In fact that's EXACTLY what it was. Dooley should have been canned immidiately following the UK game. He went into hiding for a month after it and hid from fans who deserved a damn answer. And being that he lost his entire staff, what would it have mattered to go ahead and replace the main cause for these things?

ButchBall writes:

Mr. Adams, you got this one right. Congratulations Coach Fulmer. Absolutely deserved.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Vol43:

I thought very highly of Coach Fulmer and was proud to have him represent the school. A man of great personal attributes, but I wonder. What was going through Phil's mind in those closing days as coach? Surely he was aware of the declining situation with the football program. Did he think he was bullett proof? Perhaps he thought the program would just somehow self-heal and return to the days of glory. I don't know what was going through his head, and I guess we'll never know. Phil's an intelligent man, but it seems to me he didn't have a plan which left him in a regrettable and vulnerable position. Maybe one day, he'll right a book.

Although the program wasn't quite where it was in the 90-early 2000s, it's not like the program was ANYWHERE NEAR where it's at now! That's a big lie told by Dooley's fans...and that's fact. What got Fulmer was the hiring of Dave Clawson, simple and plain. If Cutcliff would have came back, or Phil had hired the Michigan crew, that 08 team that went 5-7 would have competed for the SEC if not a NC. That roster was simply loaded. So why the Dooley clan CONTINUES to blame Phil for the current state of the program, I tend to think the firing of Fulmer just might be the reason for the current state of the program. And I felt it was time for him to go. But it now looks as if I was wrong. The only difference between me and MANY other people is that I'll admit I was wrong.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bigfan865:

I am thankful for all CPF did for TN and glad he is getting this honor. BUT...some of you act like he was fired, undeservingly, after winning a NC. Have you forgotten that while we did beat KY his last year, it took 4 overtimes! Not exactly dominating! CPF lost his edge as a coach and the developer of his top recruiting classes. His personality and reputation got good players to TN but he quit coaching them up. It was time for him to go. Don't blame Dooley for any of that. Dooley inherited a mess from Kiffin who had inherited an empty pantry from Fulmer. Congrats to CPF on this honor. Good luck to CDD on getting us back as a top program.

Well said! Agree with all.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Although the program wasn't quite where it was in the 90-early 2000s, it's not like the program was ANYWHERE NEAR where it's at now! That's a big lie told by Dooley's fans...and that's fact. What got Fulmer was the hiring of Dave Clawson, simple and plain. If Cutcliff would have came back, or Phil had hired the Michigan crew, that 08 team that went 5-7 would have competed for the SEC if not a NC. That roster was simply loaded. So why the Dooley clan CONTINUES to blame Phil for the current state of the program, I tend to think the firing of Fulmer just might be the reason for the current state of the program. And I felt it was time for him to go. But it now looks as if I was wrong. The only difference between me and MANY other people is that I'll admit I was wrong.

Along with the hiring of Clawson, there was a massive turnover in the rest of the staff prior to the 08' season, which I think many completely overlook.

tovolny writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

If you dislike Adams so much, why would you continue to read his articles? As far as the Kentucky loss, the UT family needs to be reminded of probably the lowest point in the last 50 years of football at Tennessee. The loss to a team without a QB is inexcusable anytime any place.

I read Adams' stuff because somebody has to defend my beloved University of Tennessee from the little pipsqueak.

The next time you go to your job as a Lowe's stocker. Look around and find someone with a Vols cap or tee-shirt and ask them what they think of Adams. If any of them say they love Adams' negative slants, give yourself a pat on the back and bask in the feeling of superiority. But, if you don't find one in three or four days of trying, look in the mirror and ask:"why am I in this Society of the Miss-informed?"

HarryHood writes:

Ah, the good 'ole days...

CrankE writes:

You're not getting off that easy, John. You're a troll among trolls. The leader and pied piper of trolls at KNS. If Adams had his way, then Fulmer would have been fired in February, 2008.

http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/f...

FIRE JOHN ADAMS!!!

ewhite#207432 writes:

John Adams is a hypocrite. He helped push Fulmer out the door and now he describes why Fulmer should be in the Hall of fame. The decisison to fire Fulmer was one of the worst decisions made by UT in the history of its athletic department.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Although the program wasn't quite where it was in the 90-early 2000s, it's not like the program was ANYWHERE NEAR where it's at now! That's a big lie told by Dooley's fans...and that's fact. What got Fulmer was the hiring of Dave Clawson, simple and plain. If Cutcliff would have came back, or Phil had hired the Michigan crew, that 08 team that went 5-7 would have competed for the SEC if not a NC. That roster was simply loaded. So why the Dooley clan CONTINUES to blame Phil for the current state of the program, I tend to think the firing of Fulmer just might be the reason for the current state of the program. And I felt it was time for him to go. But it now looks as if I was wrong. The only difference between me and MANY other people is that I'll admit I was wrong.

While I don't necessarily disagree with your Fulmer "what-if's", the signs of decline that became increasingly obvious were not only a steadily-worsening overall SEC record, but a widening gap between UT and its principal rivals. The lack of precision on the field and what surely seemed like a lack of cohesion on the sidelines showed up more and more as fundamentals of all types were executed worse and worse, to say nothing of the lengthening list of unsavory off-campus incidents. The program seemed to be in a state of progressive decline, at least compared to the rest of the league. I'm pretty sure that wasn't just an illusion on my part.

Fulmer's last team surely did have the talent to be more competitive than they were, as there were a pretty fair number of them who at least got a sniff at the NFL. The fact that there have been so few since shows the talent gap that was opening up between UT and the SEC elite. The talent crash which actually occurred on Dooley's watch was set in motion by the failure of most of Fulmer's last two or three classes and the general turmoil of having three coaches in three years. It may be argued that Fulmer's recruiting classes would have looked better if he and they had stayed on through their whole scheduled tenure, but it was being argued at the time that, while Fulmer was a great recruiter, he didn't seem to excel at developing players.

I'm not saying Dooley was the best man we could have gotten; I'm just saying that he was one of the few who would have taken the job for what we were willing to pay. In any case, it is much too late to go back and revisit the hiring decision now.

I am pulling for Dooley to do well because I want UT's program to do well. I didn't regard him as a savior when he came in and I don't regard him as a failure for what he has done so far, given how little he had to work with. Like all Vol fans, I am frustrated at the lost opportunities the team had to be better in the last couple of years, but it says a lot for Dooley's perseverance that he has now assembled a squad which should be able to look most of the rest of the conference in the eye for more than a quarter or two.

If he fails to bring about significant on-field improvement next year, then he will likely have to go, fair or not. As for all those who want him gone NOW, all you are doing at this point is huffing and puffing at a locked door, hindering Dooley's efforts to get the program back on track, and coming across as more interested in venting and insisting on being right than in providing support to the team you claim to love.

I'm not directing this at you, Rich, and I apologize for the parts that may not be relevant to your post.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uh...wasn't the Kiffin season part of the whole firing Fulmer process? Fulmer was fired before the season ended so "we could have adequate time to find a coach" per Mike Hamilton. I can't help but think firing Fulmer the way they did is the reason they lost to Wyoming. Don't fire him mid season, beat Wyoming, go to a weedeater bowl and end up 7-6 sounds MUCH better than 5-7 and where we're at now. I'm 100% convinced that keeping Fulmer would have us in a better position than we are in now. It's not Dooley's fault. What's he supposed to do, turn down the job? But to sit here and attempt to make him out to be an upgrade is ludacris at best IMO. Right now, UT fans sound like the dude who broke up with his fine girlfriend, and REFUSES to admit he messed up as he's now stuck with some hag! The grass wasn't greener.

volinlm writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Was that you on the cover of Time magazine with your mom?

johnlg00 writes:

Note to all: Notice that in no instance in the post above did I attribute any negative character references to Philip Fulmer. I have met him on several occasions. He seemed open and interested in what others had to say. As far as I have ever known, his personal character is beyond reproach. His love of the state and the university is bone-deep. All I was attempting to do was to give one reasonably-informed fan's view of how things looked from the outside in Fulmer's last years.

While I agree that there are ample reasons for pessimism over Dooley's long-term prospects, there is right now--in the preseason, when everybody is unbeaten--equally ample reason, in terms of personnel, to expect much better, if he is indeed going to be "The Guy". It is not necessary to add additional speculation about his character to any reasonable criticism of his record so far. We will all see how it plays out soon enough. Enjoy your summer!

volinlm writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

You guys jump on Adams even if he talks good about Fulmer. Your like a bunch of left wing liberals. You want to shift everything to meet your agenda.

Now..Now. This is football, not politics. I guess you don't remember when 'opinions' were just opinions. John Adams just voices an opinion, like you. Somewhere along the way, people started listening to opinions as facts.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Although the program wasn't quite where it was in the 90-early 2000s, it's not like the program was ANYWHERE NEAR where it's at now! That's a big lie told by Dooley's fans...and that's fact. What got Fulmer was the hiring of Dave Clawson, simple and plain. If Cutcliff would have came back, or Phil had hired the Michigan crew, that 08 team that went 5-7 would have competed for the SEC if not a NC. That roster was simply loaded. So why the Dooley clan CONTINUES to blame Phil for the current state of the program, I tend to think the firing of Fulmer just might be the reason for the current state of the program. And I felt it was time for him to go. But it now looks as if I was wrong. The only difference between me and MANY other people is that I'll admit I was wrong.

You weren't wrong. Look back at 2008, and the big fish that were available: Chip Kelly, Brian Kelly, Gary Patterson, etc. But Hamilton went with a guy that Al Davis fired. Not only did he fire Kiffin, but Davis felt so strongly about his right to terminate Kiffin, that he was willing call a press conference and list Kiffins every act of defiance publicly. Chip Kelly has been to 2 Rose Bowls and a National Championship. Gary Patterson has taken TCU to a Rose Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl. I remember hearing that Patterson was actively pursuing the job. But Hamilton went with Kiffin, and the rest is history.

Was it time for Fulmer to go? Maybe. The discipline issues coupled with the lack of wins warranted a change. But following Hamiltons decision to fire Fulmer, Hammy made a series of poor decisions that hurt us in Football, Basketball, Baseball and Track. We're still paying for hamster.

SignalMtnVol writes:

Congrats, Coach. 'Nuff said.

wagee12 writes:

Haw, haw, seven in a row against an Alabama program that was absolutely decimated. While Big 'Un was piling up those wins, the three coaches at Gump U, Dumbose, Francisoni and Baby Shula were rocking along to a composite record of 67-54, so it would appear others were pounding on Bammer too. But the hall found that a losing record against Spurrier, Meyer, Richt, Miles Saban and Tuberville was OK. Here's some more Flummo highlights:
Here's some more great Tubas highlights:
1994 Citrus Bowl-- Routed by Joe Pa and Penn St. 31-13
1998-Orange Bowl-- Destroyed by Nebraska 42-17
2000-Fiesta Bowl- Another Husker beatdown 31-21
2001 Cotton Bowl-- Smoked by Kansas State 35-21
2002 Peach Bowl- Absolutely embarassed by MerryLand 30-3
2004 Peach Bowl-- Slapped upside the head by Clem's Son 27-14
2007 Outback Bowl- Another loss to a mediocre Penn State team 20-10.
And finally the coup da gras, the game I consider to be the most embarassing loss in history, a 13-7 homecoming defeat at the hands of a Wyoming team that finished the season with a grand total of three victories.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to johnlg00:

While I don't necessarily disagree with your Fulmer "what-if's", the signs of decline that became increasingly obvious were not only a steadily-worsening overall SEC record, but a widening gap between UT and its principal rivals. The lack of precision on the field and what surely seemed like a lack of cohesion on the sidelines showed up more and more as fundamentals of all types were executed worse and worse, to say nothing of the lengthening list of unsavory off-campus incidents. The program seemed to be in a state of progressive decline, at least compared to the rest of the league. I'm pretty sure that wasn't just an illusion on my part.

Fulmer's last team surely did have the talent to be more competitive than they were, as there were a pretty fair number of them who at least got a sniff at the NFL. The fact that there have been so few since shows the talent gap that was opening up between UT and the SEC elite. The talent crash which actually occurred on Dooley's watch was set in motion by the failure of most of Fulmer's last two or three classes and the general turmoil of having three coaches in three years. It may be argued that Fulmer's recruiting classes would have looked better if he and they had stayed on through their whole scheduled tenure, but it was being argued at the time that, while Fulmer was a great recruiter, he didn't seem to excel at developing players.

I'm not saying Dooley was the best man we could have gotten; I'm just saying that he was one of the few who would have taken the job for what we were willing to pay. In any case, it is much too late to go back and revisit the hiring decision now.

I am pulling for Dooley to do well because I want UT's program to do well. I didn't regard him as a savior when he came in and I don't regard him as a failure for what he has done so far, given how little he had to work with. Like all Vol fans, I am frustrated at the lost opportunities the team had to be better in the last couple of years, but it says a lot for Dooley's perseverance that he has now assembled a squad which should be able to look most of the rest of the conference in the eye for more than a quarter or two.

If he fails to bring about significant on-field improvement next year, then he will likely have to go, fair or not. As for all those who want him gone NOW, all you are doing at this point is huffing and puffing at a locked door, hindering Dooley's efforts to get the program back on track, and coming across as more interested in venting and insisting on being right than in providing support to the team you claim to love.

I'm not directing this at you, Rich, and I apologize for the parts that may not be relevant to your post.

Yes the program had slid a bit, no denying that. But several of the best coaches to ever coach also joined the league. I just find it funny how those who defend Dooley so easily bash Fulmer. Dooley will never be the coach Fulmer was. Go to any un-biased fan or media outlet and ask them what they think of Fulmer, then Dooley. Most have Dooley at the bottom of the barrel.

Another thing...I notice how many want to give Chavez credit for Phil's success, along with Cut. Well don't they recruit? Were they not part of the 59-20 thrashing at UF in 07'? Or the total embarrassment to Bama Saban's first year..the one where Chief REFUSED to change it up and allowed DJ HALL to have 200+ recieving yards. The same game Arian Foster had 13 carries for 91 yards at halftime, yet only got a couple carries the second half. Yet it was all on Phil. But when Dooley's teams don't adjust, it's on the assistants. You win as a team and lose as one. The slide can't be laid on just Phil. Chavez was part of that IMO, as were many of the long term assistant coaches. Do they not recruit? I see them ALL at other jobs now, and they are all doing well coaching and recruiting. But it's all on Phil. I just think it's unfair to smash Phil, then elevate Dooley to something he is not. And if given time, it's hard to think that the likes of Fulmer and John Chavez couldn't have turned it around. JMO.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

John Adams is a hypocrite. He helped push Fulmer out the door and now he describes why Fulmer should be in the Hall of fame. The decisison to fire Fulmer was one of the worst decisions made by UT in the history of its athletic department.

DITTO!

murrayvol writes:

152-52-1. Yes, he deserves it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Yes the program had slid a bit, no denying that. But several of the best coaches to ever coach also joined the league. I just find it funny how those who defend Dooley so easily bash Fulmer. Dooley will never be the coach Fulmer was. Go to any un-biased fan or media outlet and ask them what they think of Fulmer, then Dooley. Most have Dooley at the bottom of the barrel.

Another thing...I notice how many want to give Chavez credit for Phil's success, along with Cut. Well don't they recruit? Were they not part of the 59-20 thrashing at UF in 07'? Or the total embarrassment to Bama Saban's first year..the one where Chief REFUSED to change it up and allowed DJ HALL to have 200+ recieving yards. The same game Arian Foster had 13 carries for 91 yards at halftime, yet only got a couple carries the second half. Yet it was all on Phil. But when Dooley's teams don't adjust, it's on the assistants. You win as a team and lose as one. The slide can't be laid on just Phil. Chavez was part of that IMO, as were many of the long term assistant coaches. Do they not recruit? I see them ALL at other jobs now, and they are all doing well coaching and recruiting. But it's all on Phil. I just think it's unfair to smash Phil, then elevate Dooley to something he is not. And if given time, it's hard to think that the likes of Fulmer and John Chavez couldn't have turned it around. JMO.

I guess all I'm really trying to say is that "bashing" of anybody BY anybody is not one of the more attractive aspects of on-line communication for me. We fans generally don't know enough about how a football team functions in all its myriad aspects to speak knowingly about what is happening in the class rooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, practice facilities, and dorm rooms or apartments. The role of head coach is multifaceted, with many different constituencies to answer to. Coaching football at a place like UT is a HARD JOB, no matter who is doing it. There is no earthly reason why people need to make inferences about someone's intelligence and/or character just because they aren't satisfied with a team's performance on the field. We all know that at a place like UT, success on the field is ESSENTIAL, though the precise definition of "success" may be debatable. UT's teams under Fulmer were notably less successful in, say, his last five years than they were in his first five years. Dooley's teams likely can't be worse than they have been or he will soon be gone. All of these "facts" are about all anyone needs to know generally how we got where we are today. For some posters to continue to say that Dooley must be fired NOW because he is just too stupid, or selfish, or egotistical, or any other slur anyone wants to use, to continue to be the head coach. That is just a futile, boring, insulting way to continue expressing oneself, and I just don't get why people seem to like it so.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I guess all I'm really trying to say is that "bashing" of anybody BY anybody is not one of the more attractive aspects of on-line communication for me. We fans generally don't know enough about how a football team functions in all its myriad aspects to speak knowingly about what is happening in the class rooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, practice facilities, and dorm rooms or apartments. The role of head coach is multifaceted, with many different constituencies to answer to. Coaching football at a place like UT is a HARD JOB, no matter who is doing it. There is no earthly reason why people need to make inferences about someone's intelligence and/or character just because they aren't satisfied with a team's performance on the field. We all know that at a place like UT, success on the field is ESSENTIAL, though the precise definition of "success" may be debatable. UT's teams under Fulmer were notably less successful in, say, his last five years than they were in his first five years. Dooley's teams likely can't be worse than they have been or he will soon be gone. All of these "facts" are about all anyone needs to know generally how we got where we are today. For some posters to continue to say that Dooley must be fired NOW because he is just too stupid, or selfish, or egotistical, or any other slur anyone wants to use, to continue to be the head coach. That is just a futile, boring, insulting way to continue expressing oneself, and I just don't get why people seem to like it so.

SOLID!

PUL4VOLS writes:

I just read the headline where JA said Fulmer deserves it and refuse to go any further.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features