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


August 20th, 2009
2:18 pm

I’ve always liked Fulmer as a person and always thought he was a good coach. I’m sure he’ll find a coaching job somewhere. Class act in my book.


August 20th, 2009
2:21 pm

Fulmer’s a good old boy, so schools like Louisville, Texas A&M and South Carolina would be good fits. If he wants to stay in the SEC, this might be Spurrier’s swan song at SC unless he can finally figure out how to win over there. I don’t think the faithful will take kindly to another 5 or 6 loss season.

Gen Neyland

August 20th, 2009
2:33 pm

Tide Rising : Sorry old buddy, but whenever I hear a Red Elephant bashing an alleged mis-doer, I gotta smile…


August 20th, 2009
2:46 pm

AJC just posted an article about GT playing 3 basketball games in Canada. I’m a GT man, but isn’t this just handing dawg fans more fodder for their blogs? I can hear it now: “Oh, Canada…..”


August 20th, 2009
2:46 pm


Again we could care less who likes Kiffin and who doesn’t. Most Vol fans expect a beating at Florida given the subpar talent Fulmer left Kiffin. It’s called realism and letting your coach get his recruits into his system. There is nothing to indicate Kiffin and his staff don’t know what they are doing or are in over their heads. We’ll gladly take any beating coming to us in year one and two in exchange for handing out beatings down the road. Keep deluding yourself in believing Kiffin & Co. are not capable coaches.

Joe, sorry for being so short with you. Tide Rising, you Bammers are completely oblivious to what a corrupt program you run. Was it Fulmer’s fault when you got put on probabtion in ‘95 too? You people need to realize there is a problem down there that goes beyond Logan Young.


August 20th, 2009
3:06 pm


sorry for being so short with you. I still meant everything I said last night, please call me!


August 20th, 2009
3:07 pm

Heh, good one PaulC.

Toot of the Whistle

August 20th, 2009
3:13 pm

I don’t expect dogs will be wanting to bring up basketball this year.

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
3:14 pm


I got no problem with UT, just Fulmer. He’s a good coach but I think he is dishonest.


I think I’ve already acknowledged not once but twice that we had a problem with boosters buying players and obviously the program needed cleaning up. For some reason you simply refuse to likewise acknowledge that the 2 high school coaches who were auctioning the high school player also implicated Tennessee boosters as doing some bidding of their own. They are on public record as saying so. Perhaps you needed to do a little cleaning up of your own.

As for your baseless accusation that we’re still cheating in Memphis I’m still patiently awaiting your proof. Surely you wouldn’t just make up baseless accusations out of thin air without any evidence?


August 20th, 2009
3:35 pm

Rising, I think what Paul is referring to is the illegal “bump” that Keiwon Malone spilled to the press after he committed to Bam-uh. You know, the one where Malone’s coach rushed in from the bank to correct him.
“Uh, Saban wasn’t there. It was, uh, somebody else. And it wasn’t illegal, it was, uh, well, a guy that looked like Saban wearing Bama gear was driving down the hallway, uh the road…he wasn’t walking down the hallway, let me be clear. And Keiwon didn’t see him anyway. Somebody told him that Saban was in the hallway, uh, road…driving down the road. I’ll speak with Keiwon about all this. He didn’t see what he thought someone else saw.”
It’s all on the record.

sec media days

August 20th, 2009
3:37 pm

Didnt fulmer get served by a lawyer last year and then turn around at a press conference less than an hour later and lie and say he didn’t get served? And Fulmer skipped media days a couple years ago to avoid coming to alabammer cause he was skeered he would get served. THink he got fined for that for missing media days. Look like Phil is not only a liar but is a coward too.

Gator Growl

August 20th, 2009
3:41 pm

PaulC….Florida is not the only one thats gonna put a whippin on your boy Kiffey the Klown. I don’t think Saban, Richt, or Spurrier are too happy with him either. Better get used to getting your butt whipped or maybe after last season you already are. BTW, advice to the Bozo…I wouldn’t stand too close to the sidelines on Sept 19th…

Tide rising

August 20th, 2009
3:42 pm


Sorry dude but that was all looked into. They never made contact and this was confirmed when the SEC looked into it.

But suppose for the sake of argument you were right. An illegal bump would be an unintentional secondary violation. You know, the kind that Lane Kiffin keeps making over and over. In any event if the best you can come up with is an “alleged” secondary minor violation then you are really,really reaching.


August 20th, 2009
3:48 pm

Paul, I didn’t say you or any UT fan cares what other school think of him just that once the season starts how many will be loyal and how will recruiting go once the beat downs begin. What have the Kiffins done to prove they are up for the job. Lane came out of a program that is under investigation, most USC fan don’tmiss him claiming he only continued what Chow started and then lost to UCLA. When did Monte last coach in CFB and how many good NFL coaches have won in CFB? NFL coaches have scale down the scheme for CFB due to fewer practices and players changing year after year. I suspect in a few years we will be revisiting this topic. Hope you are around then.


August 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

Yes, Rising, it was all swept away nicely. Keiwone didn’t really talk to Saban…it was a cardboard cutout. Or he didn’t really talk very long. Whatever. It’s a little more serious than t-ping a bunch of trees or using a fog machine. The runners you’re NOT using, repeat NOT using in Memphis don’t know anything about it. Same as it ever was.


August 20th, 2009
3:56 pm

Wherever Fulmer winds up me and General Neyland are going to open up a Dunkin Doughnuts franchise.

Tide rising

August 20th, 2009
4:00 pm


As I said. If the violation that you “allleged” actually happened(which it didn’t) then it still qualifies as a secondary violation which is meaningless. What is it about that which you still don’t seem to understand? Kiffin committs these secondary violations every time he opens his mouth like when he called out Urban Meyer and accused him of cheating. It doesn’t matter. Its secondary.

Tide rising

August 20th, 2009
4:01 pm


If you do open that dunkin doughnuts wherever phat Phil goes you’re sure to make millions.

Pago Flyer

August 20th, 2009
4:07 pm

Actually, Michigan may be looking for a new coach in 2-3 years.


August 20th, 2009
4:25 pm

Cuz, A Cracker Barrel would not be a bad idea either hmmm….


August 20th, 2009
4:36 pm

Otto and Tide, do you know what is Phat Phil’s favorite pizza, I mean look at what a stimulus to the Fast Food economy for whatever college town lands Phil Phulmer.

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
4:42 pm


His favorite pizza? Did you misspeak? It seems like the more relevant question would be what are his favorite 10 pizzas? With that in mind are going to open up a pizza parlor next to the dunkin doughnuts. Just imagine. If you opened a dunkin doughnuts you could have his business in the morning and with a cracker barrel as otto says and a pizza parlor you could have him right back for lunch and dinner. Something tells me you’re going to be a very wealthy man.

Island Dawg

August 20th, 2009
4:45 pm

Phil is a mediocre coach. I know he owned UGA for a long time but that was with our crappy coaches and his great assistants. If anyone deserves to be on the short list at a BCS school it’s Tubs. The Barners are going to want to kill Lowder by the end of the ‘10 season. Don’t really get either firing, but Tubs’ seems more egregious.

Tide Rising

August 20th, 2009
5:07 pm

Island dawg,

Lowder resigned from the board of trustees and also resigned from his ceo position at Colonial bank several months ago. Apparently he saw what was coming down the road. and last week colonial bank holding group declared bankruptcy or a probe was opened up by the feds on his bank. I can’t remember which of those 2 happened but it was really bad. He started withdrawing from the public eye months ago with this stuff about to be coming down regarding his bank.

Auburn may be going through a transition year but the best thing that’s happened to them this year is Lowder getting completely out of the picture. Good for Auburn.

Sammy Jones

August 20th, 2009
5:20 pm

Thats it Phil. You keep dreaming big!!

See it hear first



August 20th, 2009
6:00 pm

Where is the home office for Krispy Kreme?


August 20th, 2009
7:43 pm

TB, do you think Fulmer would be interested in a DC role, say at UGA especially if Martinez tanks again this year?


August 20th, 2009
8:08 pm

MEMPHIS STATE might give him a call…especially after the OLE MISS game…HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!

Phat Phil

August 20th, 2009
9:00 pm


I like krispy kreme too. DUnkin dounuts is a northern chain. KK is a southern chain. It shall be kk doughnuts for me!!!!

Doughnut police with bullhorn

August 20th, 2009
9:04 pm

Coach Fulmer,

Take the doughnut out of yo mouth and put it down. This is an order. Step away from the doughnut box coach fulmer.

Your punishment: Steve Spurrier gets to taunt you every day for the rest of your life!


August 20th, 2009
10:34 pm

Hugedawgfan- Do you smoke crack? Fat Phil specialty is Oline and offense. Why would an ex head coach with a huge ego become a DC at a rival School???

Phat Phil

August 20th, 2009
11:14 pm


Don’t you worry about what I can and can’t coach. Not only can I whup your butt in a doughnut eating contest but I’ll whup youi in a hot dog eating contest as well.


August 20th, 2009
11:20 pm

I heard that Fulmer’s hoping for the Notre Dame job if Weis gets fired this year, which is possible, but wants a minimum deal of $4 mil per year. That sounds high.

Phat Phil

August 20th, 2009
11:27 pm


It is a distinct possibility of me going to ND. Now shut up and get me a doughnut. Correction. Make that a dozen doughnuts.

Denver Dog

August 21st, 2009
12:09 am

If he wants to coach there will be plenty of spots. It is not like he has to go far, and it is not like he doesn’t have a resume. Heck Petrino got the Hogs job, there will be something for him, if he wants it.

He gave alot to UT, and made them a contender year in and year out. Heck against us, he was as dominant as DarkVisor for a while, and his teams were always ready to play. His teams competed and he and his staff had a good record.

Times changed, he needed a ball of fire recruiter, and after he lost Rodney, he never was the same.

Good luck to a good coach. I will always remember his daughter by his side, and that says alot right there.

[...] Fulmer definitely wants to coach again Atlanta Journal Constitution 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 … [...]


August 21st, 2009
6:26 am

Fulmer’s data speaks for it’s self.

Large Orange

August 21st, 2009
7:20 am

Whichever schools gets Fulmer better be prepared to “work like heck” and “watch a lot of game film to see where we messed up”. I am a true orange-blooded Vol fan and always supported CPF. However, it was time for him to go. The program had been headed south for many years in many aspects. A lot of you nay-sayers are so wrong about Kiffin. Trust me, when he sticks a hob-nail boot up UGA’s butt this year, everyone will be taking notice of the Boy Wonder. I am calling for an 8-4, possibly 9-3 season for the Vols this year. The Vols are back, mark it down. CPF needs to kick back and count his millions UT gave him to leave. We will always love you Fulmer. Just don’t want to see you on the UT sidelines again with all the clapping and pulling your hat over your eyes! Go Vols


August 21st, 2009
7:50 am

Paul C – you are misinterpreting the reaction to Kiffi – he is not hated, he is just an immature, self-obsessed idiot and everyone is laughing at him. All the rabid vol fans will be calling for his head inside a year.


August 21st, 2009
8:34 am

Two thoughts as to where Fulmer ends up. First thought is when Lame Kiffen implodes (and only question is when not if), UT may pull a Kansas State and welcome the old coach back with open arms and be happy to have him this time.

Second option is if the Quincy’s Restaurant chain revives the John Madden BBQ Rib commercial where Madden really “gets his face into it”. Fulmer would be perfect as a stand in for Madden in SEC markets. The boy can eat some BBQ.


August 21st, 2009
9:27 am

Jake, Yes Fulmer’s data speaks for it’s self. Just look at the downward spiral without Cutcliffe.

Mark, Exactly

Gatordowneast, UT isn’t taking him back.


August 21st, 2009
9:32 am

Denver Dog, Petrino also went out of CFB a winner and stepped into a mess in Atlanta. The only question I have is why did Petrino take a job with a history of mediocrity at best with a star QB who had been a problem and did not play his style of offense? The Petrino hire was a good move on Arkansas’ part.


August 21st, 2009
10:15 am

Dont know the football coaching situation at Memphis, but that would seem like a pretty good fit for Fulmer.

He’d still be coaching for another program in the state of Tenn, where, of course, he has lots of recognition, and would get lots of statewide fan support because Memphis and UT are not really state rivals. Kind of like how GA fans became big Ga Southern fans when Erk left GA to go to Statesboro.

Plus, if Fulmer is recruiting from Memphis, its even easier to go to the states of Ark, Miss, Ky, and Alabama to get recruits, which wont be helpful for teams that compete with UT in the SEC…like KY, Ole Miss, Miss State, Ark, Ky, etc.

If Fulmer went to Memphis, it would seem to be a really strong Win-Win scenario for U of Tennessee, Memphis, and the whole state of Tenn.

[...] More of the Same B.S. Fulmer wants to coach a championship contender. He feels young again. Fulmer definitely wants to coach again | Mr. College Football I did find this quote to be interesting and hilarious.

[...] More of the Same B.S. Fulmer wants to coach a championship contender and he feels “young” again. Fulmer definitely wants to coach again | Mr. College Football I did find this quote to be interesting and hilarious. “People who know me know that [...]

Chris F

August 23rd, 2009
3:36 am

PaulC, You really need to check yourself. If you think for one second that Bama is any more dishonest than any other program in the country then you are sadly mistaken. Saban has been cleaning things up since he got here while just about every other team still does the same thing. Meyer and Saban don’t have to cheat to get good players, they run straight to them. Alabama was one of the few teams that actually got caught and they have paid for it. What about the other 100+ teams that have cheated? Go screw yourself.

Show some facts and proof or shut up.

Adam Buckles

August 24th, 2009
3:00 am

If Auburn would have hired Fulmer they would have done it this year. Yes Fulmer has a good record against the Tide, so did Tubberville. Plus Fulmer does not post a good record vs Saban.


August 26th, 2009
5:14 pm

I am a fan of Phil and respect everything hes done at UT and college football but Tennessee did not make a mistake in replaceing him. It was time to go, his style just doesnt translate in the college game anymore, especially in the SEC. Its a new day in Knoxville. No, we are not a Championship team right now but if you follow UT football, then you know Kiffin and company are gonna surprise the college football world! Good luck too Coach Fulmer and GO VOLS!!

Buddy Cobb

August 30th, 2009
8:27 am

I see Fulmer at Clemson after Dabo’s debacle. I see Tommy Bowden at Louisville.

Rick Smith

August 31st, 2009
12:37 pm

I cannot believe all of the sob stories for Johnny Majors. He was a drunken sot and got what he deserved. The President of the Univ told him to recover from his med problems and he basically ignored him. His arrogance and stupidity is what got him fired. Fulmer was just the interim coach and was not a back stabber. Perhaps you that think this way should get your facts straight before smearing Phil this way. Fromm someone familiar with UT Athletics. The Tom Elam Family.