Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fulmer releases statement on UT job

Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer (right), whose firing a year ago was handled clumsily by the university, released a statement Thursday about whether he's a candidate to replace Lane Kiffin, who left after a year to coach at Southern Cal (he's not), and makes pretty clear what he thought of Kiffin's year on the job (not much).

The statement, released by CBS College Sports Network, for which Fulmer is a contributor:

“Over the last 24 hours I have been contacted by friends, great fans and media members, and I feel it is important to comment, as a man who loves the University of Tennessee deeply and shares this love with millions of great Volunteer fans and friends.

Recent events have been painful and an embarrassment to all of us who care about UT. I love the University; I am loyal to my alma mater and am ready to help as the University makes one of the most important decisions in the history of our football program. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I am not seeking to be a candidate for the head coaching position.

I am looking forward to embracing the next coach and have some strong beliefs about the kind of man he should be. He must embrace Tennessee’s culture and traditions, be mature and of good character, and demonstrate integrity and leadership to our young men who desperately want to be shown the way. He must deserve, earn and keep the trust of our young men -- both present and future.

Tennessee football has been successful for so many years because it has been rooted in values and traditions. We can’t take those values for granted – if we do not guard them carefully, we will lose them.”


Anonymous said...

a class act. shoulda kept him instead of hiring some hot kid.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Fulmer is a class act and has given his all to UT. Good luck finding someone who has as much love as he does for UT and will embrace it's culture and traditions the way he did.

Michael said...

While his statement was almost perfect in wording and tone, pardon the rest of the SEC if we mull the notion that Phil Fulmer is a class anything (as in anything that can be printed in a family newspaper).

If he plays any role in the selection of the next coach or future operation of the program, Mike Hamilton is a dead Vol walking.

Anonymous said...

Michael, as a UGA fan and playing UT every year as a division rivalry, Ive had nothing but respect and appreciation for Fulmer and his program. Whats your beef with Fulmer?

Anonymous said...

Yeah he's a class act -- went to the AD when his old boss was in the hospital and told the AD Major's was a drunk so he'd get the head coaching job....real class act.

Michael said...

Anon, I'm an Alabama fan, and I consider myself a fairly realistic one. Which means I believe Alabama was cheating when it was hauling in record number of recruits under Mike Dubose.

However, the degree to which Fulmer conspired with the then-SEC leadership and NCAA investigators to trap Alabama -- all this is court documents, by the way -- crosses way into obsession. PF was a secret witness whose testimony was used against Alabama by the NCAA. One problem: Testimony by secret witnesses is not allowed under NCAA rules. Fulmer also recruited the other secret witness, a disgruntled recruiting analyst out of Birmingham.

Now, Alabama broke the rules -- the extent of which has never been proven. Still, it's one thing to be on one end of a fervent rivalry, and to do what you can to make sure no school is mocking the rules. But Fulmer launched a personal crusade to bring a program down, "to put them out of business" as he said on at least one occasion. He was constantly after dirt, with little regard if it had any basis in fact.

Secondly, PF was the interim coach while Johnny Major's recovered from some health issues. The way he backstabbed Majors to get the head position is the stuff of Volunteer legend.

Thirdly, it would be one thing if Fulmer ran a clean program. Instead, there was Tutorgate, the Eric Locke scandal, the regular perp walk of UT players, Tee Martin's sugar momma in Mobile, and on and on and on. Somehow he skated, again and again and again.

All that said, I think the guy was better for Tennessee than Romper Room. But for me, revionist history stops there.

Hope this helps.