Phil Fulmer has no hard feelings.

Which is kind of impressive when you think about, given how he thinks pretty much everyone around him and those who followed were a bunch of incompetents.

Fulmer was forced out as Tennessee’s coach during the Vols’ 5-7 campaign in 2008, one of his two losing marks in his 16 seasons as the program’s head coach. Fulmer lost 34 conference games and 52 games overall during his tenure at Tennessee. Since he left, the Vols have a 9-23 conference record and a 23-27 overall mark under Lane Kiffin (2009) and Derek Dooley (2010-12).

But don’t put all the blame for Tennessee’s slide on his successors, Fulmer said.

“I still know we’re battling from an internal standpoint to get everything aligned so we can not compete against ourselves internally but be able to compete against the outside folks,” Fulmer said. “I believe we’re making progress with that.

“Every school has down cycles. You’re not always going to be on top. Alabama just a few years ago, for example. Florida never won a championship until coach (Steve) Spurrier got there. People don’t realize that: You’re going to have your dips.

“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.”

Mike Hamilton replaced Doug Dickey as Tennessee’s director of men’s athletics in 2003. Hamilton resigned in June 2011. Current Tennessee president Joe DiPietro is the university’s fifth in the past decade.

Of course, he may have a point about Hamilton.  After all, less than a year before Fulmer was fired, the man who wasn’t prepared for the job gave him a contract extension and a raise.

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12 Comments

Filed under The Glass is Half Fulmer

12 responses to “Phil Fulmer has no hard feelings.

  1. Lrgk9

    Phat Phil – for a clear and accurate opinion of him, just ask Johnny Majors.

  2. alabamadawg

    Or a bama fan…

  3. We really want UT and Auburn to be much better this year. The SEC has to be made up of the best CF teams in the NATION. It is the way it should be.

  4. Jeff Sanchez

    Take note, you “Fire CMR !!1!” crew

  5. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I know, I know. Some of you namby pambies will jump on this, but think it through first. What major change did the University of Georgia make right before the slide in the school’s football program? Why, it hired ol’ Red Panties as AD, that’s what. What was the very first change that was announced by McGarity when he came in? That he was restructuring the responsibilities of the Head Football Coach to remove “administrative duties” from CMR and taking them over himself in order to free CMR to be able to devote all of his time to coaching the football team. What goes on in the AD’s office directly affects the product on the field. The luckiest day for all of us was the day Red Panties got fired.

  6. Chickasaw

    Does anyone know the last UT coach who left the job with a good reputation and well liked by Vols fans? Anyone since Neyland? I know we Dawg fans can be tough on our coaches sometimes, but generally speaking, most of us seem to have warm fuzzies about Butts, Dooley and Richt. At UT it always seems to be a “don’t let the door hit you too hard on the way out ya bastard” ending. Maybe Junior and Lulu are just nasty!

  7. Scorpio Jones,III

    Well, Phil, that’s an interesting view of things, and probably accurate….but I do have one question. When you were widely quoted as saying “We sure screwed that up”…referring to the football program I guess you mean “they really screwed that up”, not We being the football program’s leadership, meaning you.

    UT does have a strange history with its football coaches, Fulmer being the only one of the modern era who lasted long at all. Johnny Majors got run out of town on a rail after spending his adult life as the poster boy for being second best at UT (finished second or third or something in they Hypeman voting), and, so the story goes, the lead rail-toter was none other than offensive line coach Phillip Fulmer, who, it is said, threatened to leave for greener pastures if they did not fire his old coach and boss, John Majors.

    That UT is a football mess there is no question. Fulmer will get little argument with the idea the leadership that ran him off was faulty, and the particular fault was listening to people who thought Fulmer had outlived the game.

    I am damn sure glad all this happened to UT and not us and it appears, if the Mayor is correct in his views about the change of athletic directors, and I don’t doubt he is, the only consistent leadership at UGA during this period comes from a place unlikely to make most of us happy with the thought.

    Michael Freaking Adams