Phillip Fulmer
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Phillip Fulmer
Phillip Fulmer
Phillip Fulmer.jpg
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Athletic director
Team Tennessee
Biographical details
Born (1950-09-01) September 1, 1950 (age 67)
Winchester, Tennessee
Playing career
1968-1971 Tennessee
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972-1973 Tennessee (student coach)
1974-1978 Wichita State (OL/LB)
1979 Vanderbilt (assistant)
1980-1988 Tennessee (OL)
1989-1992 Tennessee (OC/OL)
1992-2008 Tennessee
2017-present Tennessee
Head coaching record
Overall 152-52
Bowls 8-7
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1998)
2 SEC (1997, 1998)
SEC Eastern Division (1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1998)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1998)
George Munger Award (1998)
Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (1998)
Sporting News College Football COY (1998)
SEC Coach of the Year (1998)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2012 (profile)

Phillip Edward Fulmer Sr. (born September 1, 1950) is an American football player, coach, and current athletic director at the University of Tennessee.[1] He served as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 1992 to 2008, compiling a 152-52 record. He is best known for coaching the Volunteers in the first BCS National Championship Game in 1998, defeating Florida State University. Fulmer was the Volunteers' 20th head football coach.[2]

At the end of his tenure at Tennessee, Fulmer had the second-highest number of wins of any head coach in Tennessee history, 21 behind Robert Neyland. Fulmer also was the third coach in Tennessee history to win a claimed national championship. His 1997 and 1998 teams won consecutive SEC championships. Despite a decline in the later years of his career, he was considered by many to be an icon of college football, especially one of institutional loyalty.[3] In recognition of his accomplishments at Tennessee, Fulmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.[4]

Fulmer served as a special assistant to the athletic director at East Tennessee State University. On June 20, 2017, Fulmer was named as a special advisor to the University of Tennessee president. On December 1, 2017, Fulmer became the Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee.

Playing career

Fulmer was born in Winchester, Tennessee, where he attended Franklin County High School. While at Franklin, Fulmer played football and starred for the team. Fulmer enrolled at the University of Tennessee as a student in 1968. He promptly joined the football team as an offensive guard. While playing for the Volunteers, Fulmer garnered All-Southeastern Conference honors at offensive guard. Fulmer contributed to Tennessee's 30-5 record from 1969-1971, where he played for head coaches Doug Dickey (who returned to Tennessee as athletic director and hired Fulmer as the Volunteers' coach) and Bill Battle. The Volunteers captured the SEC championship with a 9-2 record in 1969, went 11-1 and won the Sugar Bowl in 1970, and finished as Liberty Bowl champions with a 10-2 record in 1971.[5]

Early coaching career

Fulmer served as linebacker coach and defensive coordinator for the Vols freshman team in 1973 before moving to Wichita State University the following season. He spent five years at Wichita State, where he coached the offensive line in 1974 and 1977-1978 and served as linebacker coach in 1975-1976. He followed those years with a one-season stint at Vanderbilt, serving as an assistant to Commodores head coach George MacIntyre.[6]

University of Tennessee

Beginning in 1980, Fulmer served 13 years as a Vols assistant coach, initially as the offensive line coach, and then as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Linemen coached by Fulmer during this period include Bill Mayo, Raleigh McKenzie, Bruce Wilkerson, Harry Galbreath, Charles McRae, Antone Davis, and Tom Myslinski. Fulmer became the 20th head football coach in Tennessee history midway through the 1992 season, after the decision to replace then-coach Johnny Majors.[7]

In Fulmer's early career, Tennessee won two Southeastern Conference championships, in 1997 and 1998, and a national championship in 1998. The Vols made three other SEC Championship game appearances in 2001, 2004, and 2007, losing all three. Despite his decline over the last several years of his career, Fulmer's winning percentage was still among the top in the country for head coaches who had over ten years' experience.

Fulmer helped return Tennessee to national prominence in 1990s, a stretch which included the undefeated 1998 season, when the Vols won the first ever BCS National Championship Game in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl over Florida State. The Vols appeared in three consecutive Bowl Alliance or BCS games from 1997 to 1999. They posted 10 or more wins in each season from 1995 to 1998, with Peyton Manning at quarterback for from 1995 through 1997 and Tee Martin in 1998. The senior class of the 1998 team compiled a record of 45-5, losing only to Florida (three times), Nebraska, and Memphis.

Fulmer had a reputation as an ace recruiter, leading many analysts to praise him as one of the game's top head coach recruiters.[8] Until 2008, Fulmer had only had one losing season at Tennessee: in 2005, Fulmer's pre-season #3 Volunteers went 5-6, losing to in-state SEC rival Vanderbilt for the first time in his 14-year tenure. The losing season also kept Tennessee out of a bowl game for the first time since 1988, a streak of 16 years, which was the third-longest in the NCAA. Fulmer never lost to the Kentucky Wildcats, winning 17 straight games.[9] After a slow start in 2008, Fulmer came under increased scrutiny from Tennessee fans,[10][11] leaving skepticism about how long he would remain Tennessee's head football coach despite having just received a contract extension after the 2007 season.[12][13] Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton finally notified Fulmer of his dismissal on November 2, 2008. The next day, he agreed to step down as head coach following the season. That week the Vols suffered a loss at the hands of Wyoming, a 26-point underdog.[14] Fulmer completed his long tenure at the University of Tennessee with a 28-10 win over Kentucky on November 29, 2008.[15][16]

Lane Kiffin was hired by Mike Hamilton to succeed Fulmer as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.[17]

Post-coaching career

Fulmer was a sports analyst on CBS's SEC Postgame Show, as well as various programming on the CBS College Sports Network.

Fulmer was a strong candidate for the University of Louisville head coaching job. He stated in many interviews that he was interested in the job and also had a phone interview with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich. However, the job was eventually offered to Charlie Strong. After UConn head coach Randy Edsall left for Maryland in January 2011, sources confirmed that Fulmer expressed interest in the coaching vacancy at Connecticut.[18] After Mike Hamilton stepped down as University of Tennessee athletic director, Fulmer was frequently brought up by Tennessee fans as a potential replacement, but said that he did not consider himself a likely candidate.[19]

Fulmer appeared as himself in the 2009 biographical sports drama film The Blind Side.[20]

On May 15, 2012, Fulmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[21]

Fulmer served as a consultant and special assistant to athletic director Richard Sander at East Tennessee State University, which relaunched a football program it had shut down for financial reasons in 2003.[22]

Fulmer became a founding partner at BPV Capital Management in Knoxville. He serves as part of the business development team.[23]

On June 20, 2017, it was announced that Fulmer will serve as a special advisor to the University of Tennessee president.[24]

On December 1, 2017, following the suspension of John Currie, the previous athletic director at the University of Tennessee, Fulmer was named the new Athletic Director for the university.[25][26]


Fulmer and his wife Vicky have three daughters: Courtney, Brittany, and Allison.[27]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (1992-2008)
1992 Tennessee 4-0* 2-0* 3rd (Eastern)* W Hall of Fame 12 12
1993 Tennessee 10-2^ 7-1^ 2nd (Eastern) L Florida Citrus 11 12
1994 Tennessee 8-4 5-3 2nd (Eastern) W Gator+ 18 22
1995 Tennessee 11-1 7-1 2nd (Eastern) W Florida Citrus 2 3
1996 Tennessee 10-2 7-1 2nd (Eastern) W Florida Citrus 9 9
1997 Tennessee 11-2 7-1 1st (Eastern) L Orange+ 8 7
1998 Tennessee 13-0 8-0 1st (Eastern) W Fiesta+ 1 1
1999 Tennessee 9-3 6-2 2nd (Eastern) L Fiesta+ 9 9
2000 Tennessee 8-4 5-3 2nd (Eastern) L Cotton 25
2001 Tennessee 11-2 7-1 1st (Eastern) W Florida Citrus 4 4
2002 Tennessee 8-5 5-3 3rd (Eastern) L Peach
2003 Tennessee 10-3 6-2 T-1st (Eastern) L Peach 16 15
2004 Tennessee 10-3 7-1 1st (Eastern) W Cotton 15 13
2005 Tennessee 5-6 3-5 4th (Eastern)
2006 Tennessee 9-4 5-3 2nd (Eastern) L Outback 23 25
2007 Tennessee 10-4 6-2 T-1st (Eastern) W Outback 12 12
2008 Tennessee 5-7 3-5 5th (Eastern)
Tennessee: 152-52 96-34
Total: 152-52
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

*Fulmer served as interim coach for the first three games of the 1992 season while Johnny Majors recovered from heart surgery. He was named full-time coach after the 1992 season, and led the team in the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl. Tennessee credits the first three games of the 1992 regular season and the Hall of Fame Bowl to Fulmer, and the eight games inbetween to Majors.
^Fulmer's 1993 Tennessee team finished 9-2-1 (6-1-1), but Alabama subsequently forfeited the tie to Tennessee.

Coaching tree

Assistant coaches under Phillip Fulmer who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:

See also


  1. ^ "Report: Phillip Fulmer to be named AD at Tennessee". December 1, 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  2. ^ Hillman, Jesse (August 13, 2014). "Touchdown: Former UT coach coming to Jackson". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  3. ^ Low, Chris. "Entering the Hall: Phillip Fulmer". Retrieved 2012. 
  4. ^ Paschall, David (May 15, 2012). "Phillip Fulmer elected to College Football Hall of Fame". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ "Phillip Fulmer: through the years". Knoxville News Sentinel. November 3, 2008. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ "Tennessee's Fulmer out after 17 years with school". USA Today. Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ Marvin West, Tales of Tennessee Vols: Volunteer Legends, Landmarks, Laughs and Lies, 2002, pp. 88-92.
  8. ^ "1999 Tennessean of the Year: Phillip Fulmer". Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009. 
  9. ^ Cosby, Chip (November 25, 2008). "Fulmer upstaging The Streak for UK-UT". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  10. ^ Rucker, Beth (October 8, 2008). "Tennessee fans volunteering to 'boycott' lackluster games". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Associated Press. 
  11. ^ Glier, Ray (October 16, 2008). "SEC Notebook: The Fulmer Watch". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Parrish, Gary (September 20, 2008). "Clock is ticking: Fulmer's time to leave is approaching". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. 
  13. ^ Haney, Travis (October 16, 2008). "Vols faithful fed up with Fulmer". The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. 
  14. ^ Low, Chris (November 3, 2008). "Fulmer agrees to step down as Vols coach". ESPN Sources. 
  15. ^ Moorehouse, John (November 29, 2008). "Fulmer ends career at Tennessee on a winning note as Vols beat Wildcats". Kingsport Times-News. 
  16. ^ Strange, Mike (November 29, 2008). "A fond farewell: Fulmer goes out a winner". Knoxville News-Sentinel. 
  17. ^ "Lane Kiffin named 21st coach in Tennessee Volunteers history". Associated Press. December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2017. 
  18. ^ "Sources: Former Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer Interested - UConn Huskies Football Blog - Hartford Courant - Desmond Conner". 
  19. ^ Fornelli, Tom (June 18, 2011). "Fulmer doesn't think he'll get AD job". Retrieved 2011. 
  20. ^ IMDB Blind Side credits (accessed January 11, 2010).
  21. ^ "Fulmer Named To College Football Hall". Tennessee Athletics. May 15, 2012. Retrieved 2015. 
  22. ^ "Phillip Fulmer to serve as consultant, special assistant at East Tennessee State". Associated Press. April 2, 2013. Retrieved 2017. 
  23. ^ "BACK PORCH VISTA". Retrieved 2017. 
  24. ^ Fornelli, Tom (June 20, 2017). "Vols bring back Phil Fulmer as special adviser to Tennessee president -". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2017. 
  25. ^ "Phillip Fulmer takes over as Tennessee athletic director". Retrieved 2018. 
  26. ^ "Phillip Fulmer Appointed to Lead Tennessee Athletics - University of Tennessee". University of Tennessee. Retrieved 2018. 
  27. ^ Davis, Elizabeth. "Fulmer's Daughters see Father in Different Light". UT Sports. Retrieved 2017. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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