Randy Smith: Coach Fulmer's Day Off

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer and I had a similar celebration on Father's Day this past weekend. We spent a good portion of the day watching our grandsons play baseball. I ran into Coach Fulmer for just a few minutes on Sunday afternoon. He was watching his ten year old grandson play in the 11 and under division of a big state tournament in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while I was there to see my nine year old grandson and his 9 and under Fury squad wrap up the 10 and under state title.

It was really good to see him. He looked relaxed and happy; much more so than he was a few years ago.
I was ecstatic when he was named Tennessee's new athletic director in late 2017 but not nearly as much as he was when he got the job. He had been wrongly put out to pasture in 2008; a move that sent the Vols' football program in a downward spiral they have still not recovered from. When Tennessee needed him the most, he was there to stop the bleeding. The Vols and their fan base had become the laughing stock of college football as former athletic director John Currie botched the search for a new head football coach when Butch Jones was fired. Fulmer came to the rescue as he did in 1992 when he filled in for Johnny Majors while Majors recuperated from open heart surgery.

Fulmer did such an admirable job that when Majors was dismissed at the end of the 1992 season, Fulmer was named the replacement as head football coach. He stepped up in his own quiet way to right the ship and eventually bring the Vols to unprecedented success on the gridiron. Now that he is athletic director, he's doing the same thing. He is calming the storm. The Vols are no longer a laughing stock in college sports. His great hire of former Lady Vol Kellie Jolly Harper as the new women's basketball coach appears to be a home run and so does the hiring of football coach Jeremy Pruitt.    

He used to be an assistant coach with his son-in-law Robert Peace on his grandson's baseball team but since taking over as the Vols' AD he surrendered that position. That doesn't mean however he doesn't go to the games. He does, which is one of several things we have in common. If our grandsons are on the ball field we're there. 

Retirement really wasn't an ideal situation for Phillip Fulmer. Being told at the age of 59 that you were no longer needed as Tennessee's head football coach forced retirement on him. Oh he stayed active, doing this and doing that but it wasn't doing what he loved. Now at the age of 68 he is in charge once again at the place he loves; a place where he has spent most of his life in service. Good to see you Coach. See you on the ball field! 

* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

World Series Schedule/Results

Chattanooga State Volleyball Loses To Johnson University Varsity, 3-1l

Pat Benson: The NBA Is Back


World Series Schedule/Results All times Eastern TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 Game 1: Washington at Houston, 8:08 p.m. Fox WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23 Game 2: Washington at Houston, 8:07 ... (click for more)

The Chattanooga State volleyball team fell to the Johnson University varsity, 3-1, Monday evening. Set scores were 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21. Brieanna Hemphill played a strong match on ... (click for more)

The start of the NBA season is so close I can almost taste it. The harmonious squeaking of sneakers on the hardwood. The rapid thud of the dribble. The beautiful swishing sound the net makes ... (click for more)


Sports

World Series Schedule/Results

World Series Schedule/Results All times Eastern TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 Game 1: Washington at Houston, 8:08 p.m. Fox WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23 Game 2: Washington at Houston, 8:07 p.m. Fox FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 Game 3: Houston at Washington, 8:07 p.m. Fox SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 Game 4: Houston at Washington, 8:07 p.m. Fox SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 Game 5 ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Volleyball Loses To Johnson University Varsity, 3-1l

The Chattanooga State volleyball team fell to the Johnson University varsity, 3-1, Monday evening. Set scores were 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21. Brieanna Hemphill played a strong match on the net for the Lady tigers with 14 blocks and nine kills. Hemphill also led the team in digs with 14. According to Chattanooga State head coach Janet Tate, “The girls are playing really ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Brothers Who Promised 1,000 Jobs In Bledsoe County And Did Not Deliver Now Face Federal Fraud Charges

Two brothers who in 2017 pledged to build a textile plant in economically distressed Bledsoe County that would provide 1,000 jobs have been indicted by federal authorities on a variety of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering charges. Governor Bill Haslam had been among those attending the announcement at Pikeville by Karim and Rahim Sadruddin. Prosecutor Steve Neff ... (click for more)

Information Sought Following Suspicious Weekend Fires

Investigators have determined that two fires that occurred right down the street from one another were intentionally set. The Chattanooga Fire Department was called to a shed fire in the 4000 block of Dodds Avenue around 4:20 a.m. on Sunday. They found the burning shed and as they started working to extinguish the blaze, Chattanooga Police officers alerted the ... (click for more)

Opinion

The Wheel Tax Wouldn't Be A Sacrifice And Supports Our Teachers - And Response (7)

I appreciate our underpaid teachers here in Tennessee so much. We as a whole have a moral obligation to make sure we contribute to their pay. A wheel tax on our cars is a minimal expense to most of us. Sixty dollars is not enough for us to complain. We shouldn't even bat an eye at that if it contributes to the hard working teachers who sacrifice daily for our children. We ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Have At It, Sisters!

Yes, it didn’t take long … not long at all … for a majority (remember this word) of the Hamilton County Commission to request a meeting with those teachers who still dare to bear the faces after sending a live warhead of stupid over the bow to their funding body. On Sunday there appeared a letter that chastised, by name, five county commissioners who neither deserved it nor toil ... (click for more)