Fulmer definitely wants to coach again

 

New York–The last time August rolled around and Phillip Fulmer WASN’T getting ready for a football season, he was in the sixth grade in his native Winchester, Tenn.

“When this time of the year finally came I knew I was going to miss coaching,” said Fulmer. “I just didn’t know I would miss it this much.”

As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Fulmer has spent most of the past 40 years at the University of Tennessee. In 17 years as head coach, Fulmer had won 152 games, two SEC championships, one national championship (1998) and took the Volunteers to the SEC championship game five times, the last appearance coming as recently as 2007. But last November, as the Volunteers stumbled towards a 5-7 finish, athletics director Mike Hamilton informed Fulmer that the time had come to make a change.

“It was tough. I’m not going to kid you,” Fulmer said. “Given our track record, I certainly believed we could get things turned back around if given a chance. But that wasn’t what happened. I understand the business. I knew I was going to be fine.”

With his 59th birthday coming up on Sept. 1, Phillip Fulmer wants his friends to know he is fine. He was in New York this week getting ready for a new assignment as a college football analyst for the CBS College Sports Network. Fulmer and I did an SEC/Big 12 preview show together that will run on CBS College later this month. We also enjoyed a nice dinner out on the town where we had a chance to catch up on what he’s been doing since parting ways with Tennessee.

“My priest told me that I should take a sabbatical where I would rest, study, and pray and I took that to heart,” said Fulmer. “I did more fun things than I’ve done in a long, long time. We have a new grandson that I’m enjoying. I’ve enjoyed my family a lot more. I’ve gotten involved in an investment business where I’m a partner. The good news is that I don’t have to do anything. But it’s not in my DNA not to be doing something.”

Fulmer is set financially but he took the TV gig because he wanted to stay involved in the game and keep his face out there. He is very clear on this: If the right opportunity comes along, he wants to get back into coaching for the 2010 season.

“I absolutely want to coach again. I’m young and I feel young,” Fulmer said. “Given what we accomplished at Tennessee I still think we have something to contribute. We had a lot of success at Tennessee.”

But Fulmer also made it clear that he will only return to coaching at a school that is committed to winning championships.

“I think the commitment comes from the administration in terms of facilities, hiring the best possible staff and giving them the tools to succeed,” Fulmer said. “It would be silly for me at this point to go start up a program. Building new programs is very important work. But that is not what I want to do at this point.”

Fulmer is doing television to remain close to the game. He is also making his own personal tour to NFL camps trying to add to his knowledge base. When he left New York on Wednesday, Fulmer rented a car and drove to Albany where he attended the Giants training camp.

“People who know me know that I’m not afraid of change and to learn new things,” said Fulmer. “I’m not afraid to take a chance. We showed that went we went from (quarterback) Petyon Manning (in 1997) to Tee Martin (in 1998). They were both great players but had success in different ways.

“Of course that (willingness to try new things) probably bit me in the butt last year.” Fulmer was referring to his hiring of former Richmond head coach Dave Clawson as his offensive coordinator in 2008. The move was intended to create some new offensive wrinkles after the departure of OC David Cutlicliffe to Duke. It did not work and was one of the contributing factors to Fulmer’s ultimate dismissal at Tennessee.

Fulmer is very guarded when he discusses the new Tennessee coaching staff, led by Lane Kiffin. He believes that former head coaches are supposed to be like former presidents. You don’t talk about the new guy.

But in our show he did say this when asked about Tennessee: “In football, if you’re going to talk, you better be able to back it up.”

So Fulmer is going to work hard at television but have some fun. He’s going to learn as much as he can and if the phone rings in November and December and opportunity knocks again, he’ll have a decision to make.

“People who are close to me tell me I don’t have to do this (go back to coaching). It is a valid discussion,” Fulmer said. “Figuring all that out is what this fall is going to be all about. My plan is to enjoy it.”

 

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158 comments Add your comment

RxDawg

August 20th, 2009
11:27 am

Notre Dame is an interesting prediction…it makes a lot of sense too.

I agree he is too talented and proven to be talking on TV for long. I’ll make another prediction Miami.

that was funny about

August 20th, 2009
11:34 am

Johnson going back to middle georgia….If CPJ keeps beating uga, the orange guy could be wearing red and black! That would probably just kill BuLL!

EW

August 20th, 2009
11:34 am

Atlanta Gator, TB stated that UT played in 5 SEC title games…splitting hairs I know, but great post anyway. Nice to see that occasionally people want to talk football more than they want to act like five year olds.

Pitbull

August 20th, 2009
11:35 am

Depends on which “new young coach” craps out first. The one at Clemson, Auburn, Miss State, Southern Miss.

Or which established coach screws up royal: Central Florida, Miami, FSU, Arkansas, GT, Memphis, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia , WVU all come to mind.

It will be somewhere in the SEC ACC area unless he gets a wild hair and takes Notre Dame. He would be one hell of a coach there if the fatter guy finally gives it up. How much longer can the ND people take him?

Da Coach

August 20th, 2009
11:38 am

I predict Phil Fulmer will wind up at Auburn. He’ll recruit well and set the table for the next coach, which he’ll already have on his staff. Think Allbarn fans will remember his UT record vs. Alabama? Chizik will be gone after two years with the closck starting after getting hammered again this year by Nick Satan and his gang of hoodlums.

Mirna from smyrna

August 20th, 2009
11:40 am

Fulmer put the knife in Jonny Majors while he was down and is doing the same to the Louisville coach right now. Don’t be suprised when he ends up there as an “advisor” by mid October if things go bad again in Louisville.

Villa Rica DAWG

August 20th, 2009
11:49 am

I still don’t understand why UT fired Fulmer. Granted, he sucked last year, but don’t you think he had paid his dues and deserved a chance to turn it back around???

polskidawg

August 20th, 2009
11:58 am

First off, the dirtiest college football coach was Barry Switzer, or Lou Holtz.

How about Georgia State University for the Pumpkin? Just kidding…

Kiffin Is A Bozo

August 20th, 2009
12:04 pm

I don’t know if he will coach again but I do know he is better than what they got in Knoxville right now.

LJ of UGA

August 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

His best bet would be to latch on at Duke. Check Fulmer’s W-L record when Cutcliffe was with him, vs. when he wasn’t.

ReptilesRule

August 20th, 2009
12:09 pm

Gee, whatever happened to all those Urban Meyer to Notre Dame rumors??? I don’t even hear Paul Pondscum trying to spuew that garbage anymore. What’s Mark Richts coaching staff (and a few others) to do???

Buck Strickland

August 20th, 2009
12:18 pm

IMO UT started to go down hill because they recruited too many “me” guys like Jabari Davis and ice man Clausen. I can’t believe bringing in a huckster like Kiffin is going to help much. I’d be very worried about the state of my football program if I were a UT grad.

Orangeskull

August 20th, 2009
12:21 pm

First and foremost, Fulmer was a great guy and gave Tennessee a lot of proud years. With that being said much of his deserved wins should and needs to go to Cutcliffe. He was the mastermind behind the Tennessee offense. But the game has passed both of them up. When it came down to the big plays to win or lose Fulmer had to make the call, and there is only so many time you can run up the middle.

In the past Fulmer also was able to bring in the big players. But with the other up and coming coaches in the SEC, that also ended. Fulmer was too set in his ways to continue in the SEC. I also find his remark that he wouldnt go to any school unless they were committed to winning championships kind of funny. What school is not committed to try and win?? And with that thought, that is why he is no longer with Tennessee. SEC schools demand perfection, and if you don’t perform your gone. Fulmer wanted to be the Jo-Pa of the SEC. Not going to happen. As the saying goes “what have you done for me lately?”

Good luck Coach, You will coach again, but it want be a school that counts. I hear Hawaii is looking.

JB

August 20th, 2009
12:36 pm

Clemson, Auburn, Tenn,Fla. St., LSU,Michigan will all have new coach’s within 3 years. also, maybe Tech. That is out of respect, not bashing. If Johnson wins 9 -10 games a year for the next two years, real money will come his way. I don’t see Tech paying him 4.5-5.0 mil selling 35,000 tickets, playing at noon on regional TV, no ticket premium fund and spliting crappy bowl game money. He will exit to a big stage. Hate it Jackets, but that WILL happen…..Success will kill the goose. Hell, he might end up in the SEC, where all REAL BIG TIME COACH’S ASPIRE TO BE.

CrazyVol

August 20th, 2009
12:38 pm

Fulmer had to go. Kiffin hmmmmm.. Just don’t know. Talks a good game, but can he back it up. Has everbody talking about UT football. I have seen more UT stories in the AJC this year then I have in the past 10 years with Fulmer. Same with ESPN. Will this pay off in recurits? Time will tell. People talk about how much he stunk in the NFL. Lets see I could name about 5 current coaches that had the same issue. Can’t hang with the million dollar cry babies so they come back to college for the pure game. Alabama, Ark, SC just to name a few. Am I ready to sing his praises, not quite yet. Lets just say it should be an intersting year and leave it at that.

To Fulmer. Good Luck, Find a young offensive coordinator that is cutting edge. You will need it.

Aggie Fan

August 20th, 2009
12:39 pm

A big-name coach like Fulmer is exactly what Texas A&M needs to get the program turned around.

Old School

August 20th, 2009
12:41 pm

Tony:

Fulmer’s legacy among Non-Tennessee fans will always be his back-stabbing of Coach Majors who is a very fine man.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
12:45 pm

Bull Gator, Atlanta Gator & Dawgstephen: Agree with you all.
UT will regret letting Fulmer go. Kiffin is an embarrassment to all of college football, and Chavis(?) is a better college DC than Monte. Don’t see any Derrick Brooks playing at UT.
UT fans who called for Fulmer’s head will get what they deserve. He was as a devoted UT man as there could be, having been there continually since his freshman year in Knoxville. What other coach could claim that? He was in the SEC championship game two years ago. He won a NC. What more do they want, and how many other schools would be estatic with that record?
Of course, this is the same school that ran off Bill Battle, who had lost like 5 games in three years.
Good luck, UT!

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
12:45 pm

Funny but nobody seemed to mention ND for Fulmer. If Weiss gets fired Fulmer would be a great fit there. He knows how to recruit nationwide, his teams would be physical and play power football the way ND fans think they should, and he would be a steady helmsman for probably 10 years.

As for Miami I think that if they don’t excel this year then Miami fires Shannon and Tubbs takes over. If that happens then watch out. Miami will emerge quickly as a national power under Tubberville. Since Tubberville owned Meyer and the gators things would also get a lot more interesting in the state of Florida.

Question??

August 20th, 2009
12:46 pm

Old School

What did Fulmer do to Majors?

Island Dawg

August 20th, 2009
12:47 pm

I’m just surprised he has a grandchild after seeing sideline shots of little pumpkins…Gross!!

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

August 20th, 2009
12:48 pm

Who wants to bet that if Charlie Weis gets booted out at Notre Dame, Fulmer takes the job? Unlike Weis, Fulmer is a good coach. And with Fulmer’s experience recruiting nationally, he could actually bring ND outta the slump they’re in. And how funny would that be for Urban Meyer to see his “dream job” taken by the guy he beat up on for the last four years?

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
12:53 pm

Question??,

When Johnny Majors had a heart attack and was in the hospital Fulmer lobbied the UT AD and some prominent alums for the UT job behind Major’s back. So they fired Majors since UT wasn’t doing very well and hired Fulmer. Johnny Majors to this day loves everything UT except for Phil Fulmer and 2 other UT people who I am assuming are probably the AD at that time and one booster who helped Fulmer get the job. And to think people call Fulmer a classy guy.

Ijust Cutwon

August 20th, 2009
1:06 pm

When Fulmer lied about being served a subpoena last year at Media Days, it was the beginning of the end for him.

Brew

August 20th, 2009
1:09 pm

Rising, you left out the fact that Majors refused to sign his contract over the summer trying to extort more money from UT and bitched long and hard about the contract to everybody. Fulmer went undefeated in Johnny’s absence and yes, UT bigwigs decided it was better to keep Fulmer than put up with Johnny. When Johnny saw the handwriting on the wall, he decided that contract wasn’t so bad and tried to sign it, but it was too late.

Mike Lum

August 20th, 2009
1:12 pm

Erk or Bill Curry didn’t back down when given the opportunity to build a start up program. Erk said it was a bigger achievement what he did at GA Southern than winning the natl title at UGA .

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
1:15 pm

Brew,

It doesn’t change the fact that Fulmer was lobbying for the man’s job while he was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack.

Another Dawg

August 20th, 2009
1:21 pm

I think Washington and ND would be good fits for Fullmer. UW ought to be a national program by the time their next coach gets done with them (this recent slide is just pathetic.) Notre Dame basically needs to be looking for a recruiter like Fullmer with strong national ties. He won’t be the guy to win ND a national title, but he’ll certainly get them back into BCS-relevance.

JaxDawg

August 20th, 2009
1:21 pm

Virginia or Miami seem likely as both coaches are definitely on the hotseat. Fulmer vs Beamer would energize the VA vs VA Tech game, and Fulmer’s national recruiting abilities could turn VA around quickly.

I think both Auburn and Tenn got caught up in the win now, win big hype and got rid of two very good and proven coaches. There’s no reason either coach couldn’t have gotten their respective teams back on track within a season or two. Now both programs are 4-5 yrs out at least and will most likely have to replace the coaches they just hired within that time frame.

how2fish

August 20th, 2009
1:25 pm

ANDY

August 20th, 2009
1:27 pm

I NEVER LIKE FULMER AFTER WHAT HE DID TO JOHNNY MAJORS. HE’S CERTAINLY NOT THE TYPE OF PERSON I WOULD WANT TO HAVE FOR A FRIEND!

jumbeauxtiger

August 20th, 2009
1:29 pm

Nice post Atlanta Gator.

Fulmer is a good coach and will be coaching again. It would not surprise to see him at A&M or in the ACC. I doubt he’ll ever coach in the SEC again but you never know.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
1:29 pm

Doug Dickey, the UT AD during the Majors v. Fulmer affair, and Joe Johnson, the UT president were the main culprits in the situation. Investigation indicated that Dickey approached Fulmer and asked if he was interested in the job. It was Fulmer’s dream job, what was he supposed to say, “NO”? Then Dickey suggested to Fulmer that he needed to win over some influential boosters. Fulmer understood from the conversation with Dickey that Majors was already out; Dickey even implied that Majors was going to resign due to his health. Fulmer was as surprised as anyone to find out that Dickey and Johnson had used him as a lever to remove Majors; who was in a contract dispute with UT at the time. BTW, Dickey was aa ex Gator head coach. UT fans are rabid; there’s a reason there’s a 105,000 seat stadiun in, of all places, Knoxville, Tenn.

PaulC

August 20th, 2009
1:31 pm

Most of you people are idiots. Fulmer was an abject failure without Rodney Garner, and even worse without David Cutcliffe. It’s easy to win championships when you play against chumps like Ray Goff, Mike Dubose, Gerry Dinardo, and Tommy Bowden, not so against the current crop of coaches, and that’s why he had to go. Enter Lane Kiffin. Assembles a far superior to staff, hauls in a top 10 recruiting class, fires up the fan base, opens up competition at all positions (except E. Berry) and is not afraid (like Fulmer was) to talk smack to his opponents. VOL fans LOVE the fact that Kiffin is hated and people want to beat us worse than ever. Tennesse was becoming an irrelevant place for College Football under Philtard. If you counldn’t see that you either weren’t paying attention or you’re just an idiot.

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
1:37 pm

Ijustcutwon,

Fulmer has a history of being dishonest and lying about things. A lot of Alabama fans hate him because he turned in Bama for 2 boosters cheating in the early 2000s. Most of us don’t have a problem with the school being punished and for the 2 boosters who were blatantly trying to buy players.

What we did have a problem with is that Fulmer was behind the whole thing. He basically helped the sec and ncaa nail Bama in exchange for letting UT off the hook since UT boosters were also implicated in trying to buy the same high school player. Fulmer himself lined up 11 UT people including private eyes to dig up dirt all as “secret witnesses”.

The main person who helped Fulmer against Alabama was recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper, who was promised a job by Fulmer as UTs recruiting coordinator in exchange for helping dig up dirt. Culpepper never got the job and it was later proven in court documents and depositions that he either he or Fulmer were both lying part of the time or all of the time since their testimonies directly contradicted each other. The bottom line though is that according to all the documents revealed that the NCAA didn’t want revealed its plainly obvious that Fulmer was lying at least some of the time.

Fulmer also pressured a player Kenny Smith who transferred from Bama to UT into saying that Bama offered him illegal inducements. He put such pressure on the kid that he went along with it. Later he left UT and in an interview with ESPN he stated that Bama recruited him cleanly. He went along with what Fulmer told him to say because Fulmer had put such pressure on him that he was scared. He quit and left school over the whole matter.

Fulmer also fabricated a story to the NCAA in what he thought was “secret testimony” and would stay secret that Kenny Smith’s mother was having an affair with an Alabama assistant coach. After Smith left school and later on after these documents were revealed his mother then sued Fulmer for defamation of character since the accusation was without merit.

Fulmer did a great job in public of putting on airs about being such a classy guy. In my estimation he is anything but.

Don Barzini

August 20th, 2009
1:42 pm

Maybe he could go to Clemson when Dabo craps out….that way, he wouldn’t have to change his wardrobe.

Bama Aaron

August 20th, 2009
1:44 pm

All I know that Karma does in deed bite and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he never coached again.

PaulC

August 20th, 2009
1:45 pm

And Bama fans: Fulmer was indeed a subpar coach compared to Saban, Meyer, et al, but he DID turn your lying, cheating, no good butts into the NCAA (as did Spurrier) and you clowns were BUSTED for all the crap you pulled (and still continue, btw) in Memphis. Just because Phatlock got you busted doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve it because you most certainly did.

John

August 20th, 2009
1:45 pm

Fulmer got fired because he went 5-6 in 2005 and 5-7 in 2008. Tennessee football had become stagnant and you cant have two loosing seasons in that short of a timespan at Tennessee. When you look at the two seasons they were when he was without David Cutcliffe the brains of the program. When Fulmer lost Cutcliffe he lost his job. Simple as that Cutcliffe was the man behind Tennessee’s success.

BAMA MAN

August 20th, 2009
1:45 pm

The reason Fat Phil turn in Ala for recuited all those good Memphis football player was Logan Young was willing to part with the money and The Tennessee Stud was to cheap to pay for them even if they did in his HOT TUB with him!

Old School

August 20th, 2009
1:49 pm

Tide Rising

When Fulmer was recruiting Tennessee native Santonio Beard, Santonio informed Coach Fulmer that he intended to sign with Alabama. Fulmer replied that “Alabama will be out of business soon”.

I agree about Fulmer doing a great job in public of putting on airs about being such a classy guy. Away from the media I wonder.

JoeV

August 20th, 2009
1:50 pm

PaulC,

what the heck are talking about? The only time Fulmer played Tommy Bowden he and his Vols got their clocks cleaned in the Peach Bowl?

Native

August 20th, 2009
1:53 pm

Fulmer and the subpenea at Media Days is not what started it. Fulmer was on the hot seat before Cutcliff returned. Cutcliffe saved Fulmer’s job but UT did not win an SEC title or beat Florida. Clutcliffe leaves and UT returns to fighting for 3rd in the East. Keep in mind UT’s record against UF is not much better than UGA’s. It does not fly in Knoxville.

Tubberville did not get along with Auburn for long. Borges saved Tubby from getting fired earlier and won Tubby’s only SEC title. Borges for whatever reason is run out (my guess would be boosters as Tubby and Borges are still friendly) The coaching staff as Franklin has said became more and more divided with people not talking to each other. It eventually imploded. The coaching staff at Auburn now is a much more unified staff. Tommy is a good coach as long as you have a good OC that he trusts.

PaulC

August 20th, 2009
1:57 pm

Joe, I meant Terry Bowden. A little insight on your part would have probably alerted you that is who I was referring to. And getting beat by Tommy Bowden’s unranked team was yet another reason why he was a lousy coach.

Native

August 20th, 2009
2:00 pm

PaulC, We’ll see how the VOLS fans like BoyBlunder when Urban makes the last trip to the swamp (59-20) look gentle. Saban and CMR don’t really care for him either. Chizik will be in Auburn longer than Lane is in Knoxville.

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
2:00 pm

PaulC,

Perhaps you need to read my post again. I acknowledged that we had 2 boosters who were trying to buy a player in Memphis Albert Means. I’ve no problem with the boosters being disassociated and Bama being put on probation.

But as the 2 high school coaches who were trying to auction the kid to the highest bidder reveal Bama wasn’t the only school who had boosters bidding for this kid. They flat out said that boosters from UT, Ark, Mich State, and 2 other schools I can’t remember who were also bidding to try and steer the kid to their respective schools. UT was clearly implicated as well by both high school coaches. The ncaa simply brushed it under the rug in exchange for getting one program like Alabama and hitting us especially hard to make a point. Going after 5 schools in 5 separate investigations would have been just too much and so they just made Alabama the target.

Also PaulC, since you just made the accusation that we are cheating again in Memphis then please provide the proof and I’ll wire you $1,000. All you have to do is provide the proof. You can do that can’t you?

observor

August 20th, 2009
2:03 pm

Does Barnhart ever read or reply to his blog at all? People have valid questions for him and he completely ignores them. Barnhart, you are simply a lazy drive by blogger.

[...] news: Tony Barnhart says Fulmer wants back in coaching, so that is a great excuse to use this pic [...]

JoeV

August 20th, 2009
2:07 pm

Sorry Paul, I didn’t know I was supposed to “just know” whom you are speaking of when you clearly typed Tommy.

I agree he was a lousy coach. He got beat by an even more inferior coach that night.

Ed

August 20th, 2009
2:17 pm

I don’t know what happened during the last few seasons in Knoxville, but I saw enough of Fulmer over the years to know the man can coach. He’ll find a job.

Fulmer might want to reconsider going to a program that needs rebuilding. Erk Russell started from scratch at a similar age, and his status as legend was only enhanced by GSU’s success.