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Knoxville Columnist Blasts Ex-Tennessee Coach Fulmer

gfx - they said itYesterday, ex-Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer made news for blaming the Volunteers’ recent football decline on his former bosses.  “We had four presidents in six years,” Fulmer said.  “We ended up with an athletic director that wasn’t prepared for the job.”

He then added: “When you have a great president and a great athletic director and you replace them with substandard people that have no idea, what do you expect is going to happen?”


Today, however, it could be that the ex-coach is the one saying “ouch.”

Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams took a look back through columns past and put together a scathing retort to Fulmer’s take on history:


“His recruiting dropped off.  His hires weren’t as good.  And he couldn’t keep up with the competition when other SEC schools upgraded their coaching.

Of course, Fulmer doesn’t see it that way.  He never did.

When a last-minute drive against Alabama swerved off course in 1994, Fulmer cited a poor decision by then freshman quarterback Peyton Manning.

When Florida blitzed the Vols 62-37 in 1995, Fulmer singled out Larry Binion for an awful punt.

When the Vols were overwhelmed by Kansas State in the 2001 Cotton Bowl, Fulmer’s telling postgame quote was directed at offensive coordinator Randy Sanders.

‘I don’t know what Randy was thinking,’ Fulmer said.

The 5-7 season of 2008 was characterized by Fulmer as a ‘perfect storm,’ as though a series of supernatural events had combined to sabotage the program.  If pressed on the subject, Fulmer probably would have thrown his first-year offensive coordinator (Dave Clawson) and his quarterback (Jonathan Crompton) under the bus.

Anybody by the head coach.”


That’s a lot damning stuff, but in truth, Adams needed only to invoke the name Manning to make his point.  Countless Tennessee fans likely started Googling and Binging to see for themselves how Fulmer once placed blame on the patron saint of all things orange.

While the number of college coaches who take blame for every misstep in their program can be counted on one hand, Fulmer — as Adams so brutally points out — was always happy to play the blame game.  And most fired coaches do not have very nice things to say about the men who fired them.

In other words, Fulmer’s comments about ex-Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton (and Hamilton’s bosses) shouldn’t have been surprising.  They were actually par for the course.



Hamilton was in over his head but Adams is spot on in saying Hamilton was right in showing him the door..

Game had passed Phat Phil by.

No coincidence that he still hasn't gotten another job.

Kudos to Adams for calling Fulmer out. 


John Adams is half right. Which is an all time high for him! If only he would retire. UT could only wish, dream, and hope for a coach as successful as Phil Fulmer. Love him or hate him, blame him or not, he's the best we ever had! To blame him for Kiffin who was an a-hole and Dooley who was a buffoon is RIDICULOUS!  Let's hope BJ gets us going right again.


fulmer may have earned his firing, but that in no way validates the competence of the man who fired him.  say what you will about phil fulmer--his record will suffice to prove that, before he became satisfied and convinced he was bulletproof, he was one of the best coaches in college football.  no such validation is remotely possible for mike hamilton.  he had the george w. bush touch; everything he touched turned to sh*t. 


I wrote a whole paragraph and it disappeared when I was trying to pull a reference. I'm not typing it again but Fulmer is right. Hamilton did that university no favors. He drained money from a struggling program after Fulmer and wrote terrible contracts to the next in line. He even wrote himself a real doozy before he cut out and made the university continue to pay him. Ask any Tennessee fan and I doubt you'll find one that will defend Hamilton. Adams did nothing to refute Fulmer's claims either. He just turned it back to him and fired off his own list of Fulmer's shortcomings. I think they're both to blame though. To put the sole responsibility on one person is too much. However, being the AD and deciding to get rid of Fulmer is a big move and you better be prepared to deal with it. It was Hamilton's job to right the ship and hire a coach that could bring Tennessee back into the national spotlight. He failed and he knew it.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


Mistake on my part.  I thought I'd included the link.  It's now in the story.

Thanks for reading the site,




an athletic director's main duty is the hiring and firing of coaches.  kiffen, dooley, and todd raleigh (the baseball coach--a real piece of work).  that says it all about hammy. 


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