Mark Wiedmer: Phillip Fulmer takes responsibility, likes UT Vols coach Butch Jones

Former Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer signs autographs at the Tennessee Theatre Friday, August 9, 2013 in a 15th anniversary celebration of 1998 Fiesta Bowl National Championship and fundraiser to benefit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young

Former Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer signs autographs at the Tennessee Theatre Friday, August 9, 2013 in a 15th anniversary celebration of 1998 Fiesta Bowl National Championship and fundraiser to benefit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

CHATTANOOGA —  Phillip Fulmer knew the question was coming.

You just don't blame the gradual but steady decline of the University of Tennessee football program you oversaw for 16 years on the school's presidents and athletic director and not expect questions to be asked.

So even though Fulmer made his way to the Walden Club on Tuesday night to help raise money and interest in East Tennessee State's just-revived football program, he knew his comments from this past weekend about UT's brass would encourage further explanation.

"I understand it's been a topic of conversation in Knoxville," he said with a tiny smile. "So let me clarify something. I know I was responsible for both the good and the bad because I was the head coach. I know I had responsibility.

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Comments » 131

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Good article. What else is there to be said? Maybe this: Readers, do us a favor, don't come on here and just bash Coach Fulmer. He doesn't deserve it, and it doesn't help anything.

61NCVol writes:

Well said.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I think a PR agent must have gotten in his ear, but it's about time..

hateNCloveTN writes:

I was fed up with the inept way the game was being played in the latter years and I think that resulted from the assistant coaches under Phil becoming either complacent or uninspired after the NC. I wish Phil good results at ET and here's to UT coming back to prominence under bUTch Jones. Your assistant coaches in my opinion are the makers and breakers of any team. Get good ones and u win, get bad ones and u loose. Just my 2 cents.

BTKidd writes:

Class, pure Class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GreerVol22 writes:

So bad leadership and increased academic pressure forced us to take a lesser talented recruit? Is that what I read? Lots of other schools have leadership turnover and the same academic pressures...and they find a way. Remember the old adage, if you point a finger there are three fingers pointed right back at you.

DavidWebb writes:

He did not take responsibility. He is blaming others and said he would not change anything. One sentence is not taking responsibility.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

So bad leadership and increased academic pressure forced us to take a lesser talented recruit? Is that what I read? Lots of other schools have leadership turnover and the same academic pressures...and they find a way. Remember the old adage, if you point a finger there are three fingers pointed right back at you.

+1

volnbig11land writes:

in response to DavidWebb:

He did not take responsibility. He is blaming others and said he would not change anything. One sentence is not taking responsibility.

and another +1

SIMSVOL writes:

Fulmer still can't bring himself to accept any responsibility for the decline of the VOLS. He said he would change nothing. He should go into politics - he would fit right in with his inability to accept accountability. Fulmer got lazy, content and his teams reflected their coach. I'm thrilled to see the new level of energy Butch Jones brings to the practices and that he will bring to the sideline. Jones is recruiting like Fulmer never did - and Jones is doing it on the heels of some of the worst seasons in UT history. Go VOLS!

movol77 writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Good article. What else is there to be said? Maybe this: Readers, do us a favor, don't come on here and just bash Coach Fulmer. He doesn't deserve it, and it doesn't help anything.

Agreed. Bashing one of our national championship leaders doesn't help UT.

BTKidd writes:

in response to DavidWebb:

He did not take responsibility. He is blaming others and said he would not change anything. One sentence is not taking responsibility.

The idea that he did it in a matter of fact way with one sentence is pure genius. You're hatred of the man is what is keeping it alive. What do you hate the most? His NC? His two SEC titles?

RememberWhen writes:

Yes the program went downhill under Fulmer and yes it was probably time for a change. That said, Fulmer's worst team would still destroy any of Dooley's. The problem the last 3 years isn"t what Fulmer did or didn't do, it is the fact that Hamilton, et al, made bad hires afterward and Dooley just flat out couldn't coach or recruit. Now, it's really time that the so-called VolNation let go of the morbid recent past, stop trying to revise history with lame arguments, and focus on today and the future.

brod writes:

another article on who is to blame for the demise of tennessee football. this is getting old. we need a good season to get rid of the bad taste in everyone's mouth. it's been a long time.

DavidWebb writes:

I do not want CPF to be bashed. In his time he was a great coach. But If you read the article, it is clear that he is not taking responsibility.

usafvol writes:

We were never the same after Coach Cutcliffe left; plain and simple..

GerryOP writes:

in response to usafvol:

We were never the same after Coach Cutcliffe left; plain and simple..

Yup...

laraccoon writes:

in response to hateNCloveTN:

I was fed up with the inept way the game was being played in the latter years and I think that resulted from the assistant coaches under Phil becoming either complacent or uninspired after the NC. I wish Phil good results at ET and here's to UT coming back to prominence under bUTch Jones. Your assistant coaches in my opinion are the makers and breakers of any team. Get good ones and u win, get bad ones and u loose. Just my 2 cents.

i guess Dickey meant alot more to U T football program than alot of us realize , sounds like Fulmer realizes that too . I wish these journalists would quit hatching up these blame game articles and write something bout this years team .i hope Fulmer can get to the point where he can become more involved on the hill , that will only help , nice that Jones sees that .

Sunshine27 writes:

Hard for him to watch practice? Hmmm, sounds like guilt to me. He should have been screaming bloody murder to see what was happening to our program....he didn't. He was lazy and lethargic...deal with it. Coaching?! No one wanted to hire him!! What an ego!! Go away Fulmer.....he wouldn't hire some young energetic assistants, afraid they'd steal the attention....this guys a piece of work. Thank goodness for Butch.

richvol writes:

Fulmer's huge ego gets in the way of him accepting responsibility for his failures. Failures that can only be laid at his feet. Phil needs humility...badly.

dragon18 writes:

Outstanding!!!! He kind of took responsibility for the decline, maybe that's enough for the haters, he pointed out that it wasn't all his fault so maybe that's enough for all of those who have him positioned as a deity and feel like he was wronged in his dismissal. For all of us who really admired the man as a coach and love what he did for UT in his prime, we can maybe get closure and not have to hear anymore about it. Or at least put it to rest enough so that it doesn't impact what UT football is trying to accomplish TODAY!!!

Now can everybody please get behind CBJ. Phil said he likes him... Alot!

volaholic45 writes:

We are doomed to rehash this dead horse autopsy until the page is turned by an upswing. Go Vols, please.

Sunshine27 writes:

Phil-Fat, dumb, and stupid is no way to go through life.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Good article. What else is there to be said? Maybe this: Readers, do us a favor, don't come on here and just bash Coach Fulmer. He doesn't deserve it, and it doesn't help anything.

Good post! CPF brought me many great memories in the 90's. I will always be thankful.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to Sunshine27:

Phil-Fat, dumb, and stupid is no way to go through life.

You should know!

vol98champ writes:

in response to usafvol:

We were never the same after Coach Cutcliffe left; plain and simple..

There has to be a story there. Wonder why it hasn't been written.

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

in response to BTKidd:

Class, pure Class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How ironic....in your case Toddygirl it would be clASS, pure clASS. Have you had your morning troll conference call with Flowers? You all should go on the road with a ventriloquist act. You can sit on his knee with his hand up your back. All you have to do is move your lips and he will take care of the rest.

CrankE writes:

in response to vol98champ:

There has to be a story there. Wonder why it hasn't been written.

GVX is too interested in bashing Fulmer and feeding the trollz to do real journalism.

Fulmer owns the good and bad on the field. Was he right about UT's leadership vacuum? Absolutely. But as a first ballot, HOF coach, whose record is secure, the best thing he could have done was to keep his mouth shut. By speaking out, he re-opens his own record to scrutiny. (Ironically, just like Majors did for so long in the perennial, "Majors Still Bitter" articles.)

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

in response to BTKidd:

The idea that he did it in a matter of fact way with one sentence is pure genius. You're hatred of the man is what is keeping it alive. What do you hate the most? His NC? His two SEC titles?

What I hate is the fact we had ZERO BCS games in his last 9 years...put that in your troll pipe and smoke it Willy Todd.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

Fulmer , please just fade away .

volinlm writes:

in response to CrankE:

GVX is too interested in bashing Fulmer and feeding the trollz to do real journalism.

Fulmer owns the good and bad on the field. Was he right about UT's leadership vacuum? Absolutely. But as a first ballot, HOF coach, whose record is secure, the best thing he could have done was to keep his mouth shut. By speaking out, he re-opens his own record to scrutiny. (Ironically, just like Majors did for so long in the perennial, "Majors Still Bitter" articles.)

Couldn't agree more. I would add that all of these articles are just red meat waiting for the season to begin.

spencer1989#206886 writes:

Unless I missed it, I did not see where he takes responsibility for anything other than saying he was the head coach. Did I miss it?

vorangel writes:

Fulmer is delusional.
Bet he wishes he'd hired Mike Debord instead of Dave Clawson. Tennessee would have continued with the power running game and the Vols would have gotten Ryan Mallet as a sophomore transfer in the transition. Fulmer would still be king.
Like I said before, the game had passed him by and he knew it. He hired Clawson to try to spice it up. He swung and missed and it cost him his job.
Kinda like Hamilton with Kiffin and Dooley. Bad hires.

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

Coach Robert L. "Bobby" Dodd (unlike Majors, a true Vol legend)..."In Dodd We Trust"...the Vols 2nd All-American...went 27-1-2 as the Vols starting quarterback...invented the fumblerooski in the huddle during a game in Florida...and presided over the longest unbeaten streak in Vol history. In 22 seasons as head coach at Georgia Tech he had a 71% winning percentage and won one national championship (not consensus). For his efforts Georgia Tech named their stadium after him and he is more revered at Tech that John Heisman, who spent 16 years at Tech, ever thought about. Dodd, a Kingsport Dobbins Bennett graduate, also must have been the smartest man ever to play football at Tennessee, for he refused to come home to the Hill in 1955 when the Vols settled on Wyatt.

Who can blame him, when we're gifted with a fanbase so eager to bash a man, Coach Fulmer, who won 75% of his games and did win a consensus national championship? You can bet that after the last 4 years of misery and an inexplicable love affair with an imbecile, Dooley, General Neyland, Coach Woodruff and Coach Dodd, wherever they are, are shaking their heads at this current crop of so-called Vol fans and their rank stupidity.

10SE writes:

I really enjoyed the Fulmer years, but if Saban or Spurrier had had his tallent, Tennessee would have won several more conference championships and multiple national titles.
Thank you Phil for your years, but there is no question that it was time to go!

antonio14313 writes:

in response to CrankE:

GVX is too interested in bashing Fulmer and feeding the trollz to do real journalism.

Fulmer owns the good and bad on the field. Was he right about UT's leadership vacuum? Absolutely. But as a first ballot, HOF coach, whose record is secure, the best thing he could have done was to keep his mouth shut. By speaking out, he re-opens his own record to scrutiny. (Ironically, just like Majors did for so long in the perennial, "Majors Still Bitter" articles.)

i was going to say that the reason why there's nothing written about the decline of UT football after coach cutcliffe left is because writers think that the casual fan (most readers) don't keep up and/or care about assistant coaches. or at least they care more about the decline of head coaches.

then i read your post, and you make more sense than i do. good post. and dead on.

these writers tend to write about the more controversial topics, and/or the bad, than the good highlights of anything. it get's more "hits", more press, more attention, more sizzle. sadly.

go vols.

t

BTKidd writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Coach Robert L. "Bobby" Dodd (unlike Majors, a true Vol legend)..."In Dodd We Trust"...the Vols 2nd All-American...went 27-1-2 as the Vols starting quarterback...invented the fumblerooski in the huddle during a game in Florida...and presided over the longest unbeaten streak in Vol history. In 22 seasons as head coach at Georgia Tech he had a 71% winning percentage and won one national championship (not consensus). For his efforts Georgia Tech named their stadium after him and he is more revered at Tech that John Heisman, who spent 16 years at Tech, ever thought about. Dodd, a Kingsport Dobbins Bennett graduate, also must have been the smartest man ever to play football at Tennessee, for he refused to come home to the Hill in 1955 when the Vols settled on Wyatt.

Who can blame him, when we're gifted with a fanbase so eager to bash a man, Coach Fulmer, who won 75% of his games and did win a consensus national championship? You can bet that after the last 4 years of misery and an inexplicable love affair with an imbecile, Dooley, General Neyland, Coach Woodruff and Coach Dodd, wherever they are, are shaking their heads at this current crop of so-called Vol fans and their rank stupidity.

Brilliant, simply brilliant! I doubt these "football know nothings" understood it but brilliant none the less.

hikerdude writes:

I accept full responsibility, but it was someone else's fault. Working like heck to put the blame on someone else.

antonio14313 writes:

in response to Sunshine27:

Hard for him to watch practice? Hmmm, sounds like guilt to me. He should have been screaming bloody murder to see what was happening to our program....he didn't. He was lazy and lethargic...deal with it. Coaching?! No one wanted to hire him!! What an ego!! Go away Fulmer.....he wouldn't hire some young energetic assistants, afraid they'd steal the attention....this guys a piece of work. Thank goodness for Butch.

i don't think that he can't come back and watch a practice because of any type of guilt. i think it's because he was force out of the place that he loved. and that would hurt anyone.

coach jones reaching out to him is a start. maybe, hopefully, one day, coach fulmer's wounds heals, and he does come back home, where we all know he belongs...

go vols.

t

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to volinlm:

Couldn't agree more. I would add that all of these articles are just red meat waiting for the season to begin.

Except this was a Chattanooga article. Wiedmer isn't in Knoxville or KNS. But I will add that KNS seems quck to refer any article that makes controversy. Fun huh?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to spencer1989#206886:

Unless I missed it, I did not see where he takes responsibility for anything other than saying he was the head coach. Did I miss it?

yep you missed it.

8inarow writes:

You guys really should get off of Phil's back. He goes down in history as the last Coach to bring a National Championship to Knoxville.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

yep you missed it.

"I understand it's been a topic of conversation in Knoxville," he said with a tiny smile. "So let me clarify something. I know I was responsible for both the good and the bad because I was the head coach. I know I had responsibility."

That is one of weakest "I accept responsibility" comments I have ever read or heard of.

VolzsFan writes:

Coach Fulmer, with all things being considered, was by far the best coach in school history. He is a Hall of Famer with only a handful of coaches in the Hall of Fame with a better resume. He would be about the 2nd or 3rd winningest coach in SEC history had they not screwed up the program by firing him. I think he is still 6th. This decline everyone speaks about was still averaging close to 10 wins per year, national recognition and full houses. They went to Atlanta about every couple of years.

Make no mistake about it. The 1990s which included one of college footballs greatest runs of 45-5, will never be duplicated at Tennessee. It will not be duplicated at almost any school.
That being said, the record of 2000-20008 also will never be duplicated again. I assure you Butch will take the record and accomplishments of the 2000-2008 years and not blink thinking he did a great job. You are holding a man to a standard that he created where it had never been there prior. He was being judged from slipping from a level that no one ever dreamed UT would be to a level that UT has also never been to and certainly not in the modern era.

Lets hold Butch to the 45-5, a legit National Title and back to back SEC Titles as his standard. He will never come close. This program will never again come close.

Get over your lunacy fed by the likes of Adams. Oh yea, enjoy your change. This is what you asked for!!

vol98champ writes:

in response to BTKidd:

Brilliant, simply brilliant! I doubt these "football know nothings" understood it but brilliant none the less.

Replying to your own article billy?

murrayvol writes:

in response to BTKidd:

Brilliant, simply brilliant! I doubt these "football know nothings" understood it but brilliant none the less.

Stop talking to yourself. It's embarassing.

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Coach Robert L. "Bobby" Dodd (unlike Majors, a true Vol legend)..."In Dodd We Trust"...the Vols 2nd All-American...went 27-1-2 as the Vols starting quarterback...invented the fumblerooski in the huddle during a game in Florida...and presided over the longest unbeaten streak in Vol history. In 22 seasons as head coach at Georgia Tech he had a 71% winning percentage and won one national championship (not consensus). For his efforts Georgia Tech named their stadium after him and he is more revered at Tech that John Heisman, who spent 16 years at Tech, ever thought about. Dodd, a Kingsport Dobbins Bennett graduate, also must have been the smartest man ever to play football at Tennessee, for he refused to come home to the Hill in 1955 when the Vols settled on Wyatt.

Who can blame him, when we're gifted with a fanbase so eager to bash a man, Coach Fulmer, who won 75% of his games and did win a consensus national championship? You can bet that after the last 4 years of misery and an inexplicable love affair with an imbecile, Dooley, General Neyland, Coach Woodruff and Coach Dodd, wherever they are, are shaking their heads at this current crop of so-called Vol fans and their rank stupidity.

Hey Flowers....since your idol Fulmer is helping ETSU get their football program restarted, why don't you and Toddygirl start trolling their website and become Bucs fans. Both of you obviously hate UT and Big Orange fans. How does that sound, troll?

vol98champ writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Coach Fulmer, with all things being considered, was by far the best coach in school history. He is a Hall of Famer with only a handful of coaches in the Hall of Fame with a better resume. He would be about the 2nd or 3rd winningest coach in SEC history had they not screwed up the program by firing him. I think he is still 6th. This decline everyone speaks about was still averaging close to 10 wins per year, national recognition and full houses. They went to Atlanta about every couple of years.

Make no mistake about it. The 1990s which included one of college footballs greatest runs of 45-5, will never be duplicated at Tennessee. It will not be duplicated at almost any school.
That being said, the record of 2000-20008 also will never be duplicated again. I assure you Butch will take the record and accomplishments of the 2000-2008 years and not blink thinking he did a great job. You are holding a man to a standard that he created where it had never been there prior. He was being judged from slipping from a level that no one ever dreamed UT would be to a level that UT has also never been to and certainly not in the modern era.

Lets hold Butch to the 45-5, a legit National Title and back to back SEC Titles as his standard. He will never come close. This program will never again come close.

Get over your lunacy fed by the likes of Adams. Oh yea, enjoy your change. This is what you asked for!!

Fulmer's record with Cutcliff was 85-19. Without Cutcliff it was 66-33. Cutcliff was gone and wasn't coming back. I personally think UT deserves more that 67%. Who during that 67% tenure had better facilities or spent more money that UT on recruiting and upgrades?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to volnbig11land:

"I understand it's been a topic of conversation in Knoxville," he said with a tiny smile. "So let me clarify something. I know I was responsible for both the good and the bad because I was the head coach. I know I had responsibility."

That is one of weakest "I accept responsibility" comments I have ever read or heard of.

He probably thinks that anything he says will be misconstrued or downright lied about just for media purposes.

Why should a guy with his record have to defend his "hall of Fame" tenure? ridiculous. Why are we trying to blame anything or anyone? When you attack someone they'll automatcially defend themselves. Fulmer had some legitmate reasons that he probably for media's sake should have left alone. I don't know Fulmer personally but he seems an ok guy from a historical standpoint. He seems to be a family man and a true Volunteer. Maybe it's all a lie. I doubt it.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to vol98champ:

Fulmer's record with Cutcliff was 85-19. Without Cutcliff it was 66-33. Cutcliff was gone and wasn't coming back. I personally think UT deserves more that 67%. Who during that 67% tenure had better facilities or spent more money that UT on recruiting and upgrades?

Actually you give better reasoning than many on here. However that 67% is a lot better than what we've had since. His recruiting had improved and he may have eventually replaced Cutcliff. We'll never know really.

I'm a Butch fan now anyhow.

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