Rand Smith: Fulmer Right Where He Needs To Be

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
When the University of Tennessee needed him most, Phillip Fulmer was there. When the Volunteers became the laughing stock of college football as they attempted to hire a new head football coach, Fulmer stepped in and righted the ship. It would have been really easy for a lesser man to have told the university to stick it where the sun doesn't shine but he didn't. After all, Fulmer was fired as head football coach just ten years following a national championship and just one year after the Vols had played in the SEC Championship Game. It didn't matter that he had been a part of the program as a player, assistant coach, offensive coordinator and head coach for parts of five decades. He was tossed out the door with the bath water by then athletic director Mike Hamilton; a move that started the Tennessee football program in a downward spiral that culminated in the worst season in school history last fall. 

Less than one month ago, Fulmer was awarded a contract extension through 2021.
It's a deal that could pay him close to a million dollars a year when you add in all the incentives. While Coach Fulmer is determined to bring back success to every sport at Tennessee, there is no question that the football program is his first priority and rightly so. At every school in the country, it's football that drives the economic bus. That's especially true at Tennessee. When you can draw 100,000 fans per contest it makes every game day a multi-million dollar event. When you add in the television money at stake with the SEC's numerous TV deals ,it emphasizes the importance of college football.

Phillip Fulmer hit the ground running from day one as athletic director. He has spoken with several other coaches and athletic directors about upgrading facilities among other things. It's hard to believe but Tennessee is lagging behind in several sports in terms of facilities. There is a major upgrade coming at historic Neyland Stadium and it's coming less than a decade after a multi-million dollar face lift was completed at Neyland. Fulmer knows as well as anyone what it takes to win at the highest level, yet he also knows that using his many friends as resources is a valuable commodity to have. 

This time last year Coach Fulmer was reeling a bit after he was passed over as the Vols' athletic director by John Currie, but when Currie proved that he was totally inept at hiring a college football coach, Fulmer was there, waiting to rescue his alma mater when he was needed. When Tennessee needed stability Fulmer was there to deliver it. The hiring of former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as head football coach was a stabilizing move of course but it was a move that has brought the Vol Nation together. While there is a lot of excitement in Big Orange country right now, Fulmer has warned the Vol faithful to be patient. This is not going to be a quick fix like it was at Georgia with Kirby Smart. It will take time. In other words, it will take Coach Pruitt a couple of great recruiting years to get the Vols' talent level up. But one thing Vol fans can certainly count on is this-with Phillip Fulmer calling the shots at Tennessee, the Volunteers have a stable leader with the university's best interests at heart. Phillip Fulmer is right where he needs to be.     

-----

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com



PREP TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

PREP TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Covenant Men Advance To USA South Semifinal


PREP BASKETBALL All game times are 7:00 p.m.local, except where noted DII-A State Tournament Wednesday, February 20 Boys FACS vs. CCS (at Webb School/Bell Buckle) 6:00: Goodpasture ... (click for more)

Basketball Results District 6-AA Girls: Tuesday, February 19 Signal Mountain 47, Red Bank 37 (championship) Boys: Tuesday, February 19 Tyner 68, Brainerd 58 (championship) ... (click for more)

The Covenant men's basketball team held on for a narrow victory, 67-66, over Huntingdon on Tuesday night in a USA South Tournament first round game inside Barnes PE Center. With the win, ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL All game times are 7:00 p.m.local, except where noted DII-A State Tournament Wednesday, February 20 Boys FACS vs. CCS (at Webb School/Bell Buckle) 6:00: Goodpasture at Notre Dame Region 3-3A Tournament Girls Friday, February 22 White County at Bradley Central Cleveland at Cookeville McMinn County at Stone Memorial ... (click for more)

PREP TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Basketball Results District 6-AA Girls: Tuesday, February 19 Signal Mountain 47, Red Bank 37 (championship) Boys: Tuesday, February 19 Tyner 68, Brainerd 58 (championship) District 5-AAA Boys: Tuesday, Friday 19 Bradley Central 72, McMinn County 45 (consolation) Cleveland 56, East Hamilton 54 (OT) (championship) Division II-AA ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Waggoner Pleads Guilty To 2nd-Degree Murder In 2016 Death Of Bradley Aaron Powell, Whose Body Was Found On Lookout

The trial of the Chattanooga man accused of killing Bradley Aaron Powell in 2016 was supposed to begin Tuesday. Instead, 24-year-old Cody Waggoner entered the Marion County Courthouse in Jasper and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Mr. Powell’s death. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison, and taken immediately to the county jail to begin that incarceration. ... (click for more)

Man In His 20s In Critical Condition After Shooting At Hixson Apartment

A man in his 20s was in critical condition after a shooting at a Hixson apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon. The incident happened at River City North Apartments in the 3800 block of Hixson Pike. The victim was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. (click for more)

Opinion

Heavy Rains Are Coming In The Next Few Days

Please remember to check on folks that are vulnerable which includes the elderly and homebound. With expectations of up to 7 inches or more of rain, we may see flooding in areas that rival those of the past. As Chief Roddy told me this morning, be proactive, not reactive. Pack for an extended stay at work or someone's house. Be ready with extra food, water and blanket in your ... (click for more)

The $500,000 Tax Money Giveway

Mayor Berke, On September 5, 2017, you asked and were granted a 22-cent property tax increase for city government operations and a capital fund. At the meeting, the City Council approved your proposal for the property tax increase of 22 cents per $100 of property assessment. As a result, every business, home owner, and property owner had one-month notice that their local property ... (click for more)