University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced the appointment of Phillip Fulmer as director of athletics on Dec. 1, 2017. Fulmer moved to this position after serving as special advisor to University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro for community, athletics and university relations since June 20, 2017.
“No one better understands the storied history of Vol athletics and its deep connection to alumni and fans, and I believe he will be a unifying presence for all of us committed to the university’s success.”
Fulmer wasted no time getting to work. Six days after taking the reins of the athletic department at his alma mater, he finalized a deal to make Jeremy Pruitt the 26th head coach in the storied history of the Tennessee football program.
Fulmer, a former Tennessee football student-athlete, assistant coach and national-championship-winning head coach, has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to UT.
He is the second-winningest coach in Tennessee football history, compiling a 152-52 career record in 17 seasons at the helm of the program.
???????Fulmer led the Vol to the BCS National Championship in 1998 and SEC titles in 1997 and 1998. He was named SEC Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year in 1998.
A 1972 Tennessee graduate, he starred on the offensive line during his playing career, serving as team captain as a senior. The Vols finished 30-5, and won an SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl during his playing career from 1969-71.
He returned as an assistant coach in 1980 before being named head coach in 1992.
In 2012, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
???????Fulmer’s 17 years at the helm of the Volunteers produced the most successful era in modern Tennessee Football history, with a record of 152 wins and 52 losses. At the conclusion of Fulmer’s final season, no active coach with at least a decade in Division I-A had a better winning percentage (.744).
Under his tutelage, the Volunteers were the first to win the Bowl Championship Series National Championship in 1998 and made five appearances in the SEC Championship game, winning the SEC East twice.
???????Fulmer built his programs by challenging and motivating his teams to victories when the pressure was highest. Among his many accolades:
- Nine Fulmer-coached squads eclipsed the 10-win mark and two others just missed with nine victories.
- Eighteen of Fulmer’s Vols earned first-team All-America honors, 70 Vols garnered first-team All-SEC acclaim, and he produced 17 first-round NFL Draft selections and had a total of 91 players selected overall.
- Under Fulmer, the Vols were ranked in the national polls at game time for 169 of his 204 games as head coach.
- Tennessee posted a 44-37 record against teams ranked in the AP Top-25 Poll during his tenure.
- Two Volunteers, Michael Munoz and Peyton Manning, were awarded the Draddy Award, which recognizes the nation’s top academic and athletic student athletes by The National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
Fulmer’s family approach in developing and guiding his young men on and off the field gave him the opportunity to mentor some of the top names in college and NFL history. His motivation was rooted in his role as a principled mentor who pushed his young men to grow socially, spiritually, academically, personally, as well as athletically.
Fulmer’s reputation as an ace recruiter led many analysts to praise him as one of the top head coach recruiters. His holistic approach earned recognition from his peers as he was named the second coach in history to earn the Eddie Robinson Coach of Distinction Trophy, the presidency of the American Football Coaches Association, and national, regional and conference coach of the year honors.
His induction into the 2012 National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot was a rare accomplishment, signifying respect from his peers.