Quick Hit: Tip Your Hat to Philip Fulmer

Okay, so most of you know by now that Philip Fulmer is out at Tennessee.

Philip Fulmer was the dean of SEC coaches prior to his departure, and as such deserves better than for us to just let him ride off into the sunset without some sort of positive mention.

Philip Fulmer got his start as head coach at Tennessee back in 1992, when he filled in as interim head coach for a three-game stretch while Johnny Majors was out having heart surgery.  During that three-game stretch he went undefeated, including a big win over what was probably the best Georgia team since the days of Herschel Walker.  And when Johnny Majors came back and the team tanked with losses to Arkansas and Alabama, that spelled the end for him and cleared the way for Philip Fulmer.

Philip Fulmer went on from there to a long run of success through the 90’s and early 00’s.  In 1997 and 1998 he won the SEC championship, and went on to win the national championship in 1998.  From 1997 to 1999 he had a run of three straight BCS / Bowl Alliance (as it was called prior to 1998) bowl appearances.  In the 00’s he won the SEC Eastern division three times, in 2001, 2004, and 2007.

Unfortunately, what doomed Philip Fulmer was the perception that he was “old-school”.  College football is almost all about recruiting, and if recruits think that you are “old-school”, that puts a damper on your ability to recruit.  For this reason, the talent level dropped off in the Tennessee program in recent years, and this year it was just too much for Philip Fulmer to overcome despite his best efforts.

Philip Fulmer currently has a career record of 150-52, which means that he will leave Tennessee with one of the top winning percentages of any coach who has been around for longer than 10 years.