Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So it begins: Phillip Fulmer expresses interested in Tennessee AD job

image Former Tennessee Head Football Coach Phillip Fulmer, speaking to, has publicly expressed interested in the UT Athletic Director’s position. Former AD Mike Hamilton politely excused himself from that position on Tuesday, just four days before the institution is to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. The Committee will decide what penalties will be applied to the Men’s Basketball and Football programs for a host of NCAA violations committed under former Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl and former Football Coach Lane Kiffin.

"What I want is what's best for my university," Fulmer said. "I'll spend my time over these next few days trying to figure out what that is and whether this is something that's real for me to be able to do, both from a professional and a personal standpoint.

"We'll see what the feelings are of the people there at the university and the decision-makers, and that's simply where we are right now. I'm not politicking for the job, and I don't need a job. But if I can help my university, I'm interested in doing that any way I can."

Fulmer, who's worked in private business and as a college football analyst for CBS since his ouster as the Vols' coach, said it's important for everybody "who truly loves Tennessee" to move forward.

And he said that includes him.

"I'm at a good place now in my life, and I'm not bitter about anything that's happened in the past," Fulmer said. "It's about what we do from here, and this is an important time for our university.

What a Shakespearean twist of the knife fate that would be. Fulmer rose to the head coaching job by famously throwing another former head coach—Johnny Majors—under the bus in 1992. Fulmer had been serving as an assistant under Majors until Majors “temporarily” stepped aside to undergo heart surgery. While Majors was recuperating, Fulmer won all four of the games he coached that year and vigorously lobbied for the permanent job. He got it, and Majors was forced out.

I frankly don’t think such a move would portend well for current Head Football Coach Derek Dooley. He was hired as an untested commodity in Big Boy College Football and hasn’t set the world on fire (but has still earned the respect of his colleagues). One bad year and Fulmer might be too quick to make a change and more than likely, his choice would be someone who ran a football program his “old school” way.

Exit question: What’s the over-under on the number of days after taking office that Fulmer starts an investigation into Alabama recruiting practices?

Update: Maybe Fulmer to UT AD isn’t so likely, after all. Here’s a story from Mike Griffith of GVX, with a quote from a booster indicating that the school wants a clean break from the past. Helmet tap to @LivingCrimson for the link.

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