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Phillip Fulmer On Former Tennessee A.D. Mike Hamilton: “Wasn’t Prepared For The Job”

Phillip FulmerTennessee football hasn’t finished the season with a winning record since 2009. Former coach Phillip Fulmer, who was forced out at UT following a 5-7 season in 2008 thinks he knows he reason why.

In Gulf Shores, Alabama this weekend at SEC BeachFest, Fulmer put the focus on previous leadership at the university, including Mike Hamilton’s stint as athletic director.

 

“What happened to us basically was our leadership. We had four presidents in six years. We ended up with an athletic director that wasn’t prepared for the job. Not a terrible guy or anything like that. He got twisted like a pretzel by the middle management of the university. We lost a lot of the edges that you have to have. (Current athletic director) Dave Hart’s very aware of those, and he’s working to change things. We didn’t get dumb or lazy all of a sudden. There were obviously some things that were different.

“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? And you do that three other times? It’s crazy.”

 

Hamilton replaced Doug Dickey as AD in 2003 and served in that position until he resigned in June of 2011.  Tennessee has had five presidents in the past decade.

Fulmer voiced his support for the current football coach. “I like Butch Jones a lot.”

 


6 comments
RonnieG
RonnieG

I'd pretty much agree with that...there's been some decisions made at UT that have really set the athletic department back....and Hamilton was a part of that. Hiring a loose cannon in Lane Kiffin and then giving an uproven coach a big contract and now having to pay him off. I still don't understand why they gave Dooley a deal like that. I guess they were scared about the Kiffen thing happening again, but Dooley was not a winner anywhere...I would have signed him to a 2 year contract. If he didnt take it UT would've had no problem finding another coach of his caliber. I dont know what kind of contract Jones has...but I would'nt have paid him big either...even though I like what I've seen form him so far.

TennesseeJed
TennesseeJed

I read that al.com article and, in my opinion, Coach Fulmer would've been much better served just keeping his mouth shut.  Very foolish on his part as it does nothing but make both himself and UT look bad, especially seeing as how Fulmer had supported Hamilton for the AD position when Dickey retired and after Gene DeFilippo was no longer an option for the Vols.  Worst of all, it appears that he once again tries to throw others under the bus instead of taking at least some responsibility himself for the decline in the FB program, both on and off the field, over the last several years of his tenure on the Hill (as John Adams wrote in a scathing opinion piece in the News-Sentinel just a few hours ago).  Unfortunately, all Coach Fulmer managed to do was to needlessly open up old wounds and set the pro- and anti-Fulmer factions against each other yet again at a time when Coach Jones has done a good job of uniting and re-energizing most of the Vol fan base.  But as Adams demonstrates in his latest article, Coach Fulmer's most recent comments just appear to be a continuation of a theme that goes back at least a couple of decades - that theme being that he is/was not responsible for any failures both on and off the field while he was coaching at UT.  And as a Volunteer alum and fan, that saddens and disappoints me, because, fair or not, I think he would be remembered much more fondly by almost all Vol fans if he would say (that is, if he felt like he had to say anything at all in the first place) something like, "you know, that was my fault" or "I was in charge of the football program so the buck stops with me".  Enough with the excuses and blaming everybody else.  Just my opinion.

scottlester
scottlester

While some of what Coach Fulmer said rings true, Hamilton was a fantastic fund raiser but his ability to manage an athletic depart personel is questionable.  He was one for three in coaching hires baseball and football were failures and basketball was a success.  He mismanaged the firing of Fulmer and the search and hiring process that followed.  He also mishandled the NCAA's investigation of Pearl.  So yes, athlectic department leadership was a factor

However, Fulmer fails once again to take responsibility for his own contributions to the problem.  He was lax on discipline which was fine when he had Cutcliff there but once he left discipline left as well.  When he returned many players talked about how diciplined practice was and the coach Cutcliff had expectations off the field as well.  He had two loseing seasons in three years and hired one of the worst offensive coordinators in UT history in Dave Clawsen.  I personally think Coach Fulmer got complacent in the last few years and then when things got tough, he overestemated the power of the 1998 National Championship by thinking it would buy him more time than it did.  

I have a lot of respect for Coach Fulmer and he may have brought the only National Championship to TN that I will see in my lifetime.  However, the more he speaks the more he sounds like his former boss who is also a bitter former TN coach. 

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Bitter party of one. Though some of what he speaks rings with a little truth. I cannot hang his failure only on Hamilton. Hamilton raised the money for renovating Neyland, TBA, Pratt Pavilion, and many other facilities on campus. He ranked up the largest debt obligation in the nation. To blame Fulmer's failings on bad administration is failing to see the other side of the issue. Player attitude and honesty. There is a reason we have a trophy called the Fulmer Cup today "honoring" the program with the most arrests. Fulmer over his last 5-8+ years constantly recruited young men of questionable character. Once those players realize that Fulmer and staff needed them more than they needed the coaches and program, it was over. This is why you saw such huge swings in performance the last five years. I keep expecting Miles at LSU to start falling into the same trap. This "the players voted him back" episode might be his jump the shark moment. The players realize that the coaches need them more than they need the program. Honey Badger is playing in the NFL and walked all over LSU on the way out. So Fulmer, slide on back to ETSU and help them out. But drop the bitter party act toward UT.

bvkv09
bvkv09

@HoustonVol I don't believe that Fulmer actually ever won the "Fulmer Cup". I did cringe when I read those comments yesterday. Some things are just better left unsaid. 

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  1. […] 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 […]

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