From Phillip Fulmer:
"Over the last 24 hours I have been contacted by friends, great fans and media members, and I feel it is important to comment, as a man who loves the University of Tennessee deeply and shares this love with millions of great Volunteer fans and friends.
"Recent events have been painful and an embarrassment to all of us who care about UT. I love the University; I am loyal to my alma mater and am ready to help as the University makes one of the most important decisions in the history of our football program. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I am not seeking to be a candidate for the head coaching position.
"I am looking forward to embracing the next coach and have some strong beliefs about the kind of man he should be. He must embrace Tennessee’s culture and traditions, be mature and of good character, and demonstrate integrity and leadership to our young men who desperately want to be shown the way. He must deserve, earn and keep the trust of our young men -- both present and future.
"Tennessee football has been successful for so many years because it has been rooted in values and traditions. We can’t take those values for granted – if we do not guard them carefully, we will lose them."
University of Tennessee President John Petersen on Tuesday announced a mandatory hiring freeze and a moratorium on new academic programs while defending the appointment of former head football coach Phillip Fulmer.
But it's the Fulmer three-month appointment, at $12,500 a month, that drew the ire of a faculty leader.
Thanks for 1998. For helping my senior year of high school be that much more special. For letting me and my Dad go to all the games together one more year before I went to college and his back betrayed him, and letting us see you come home a winner every single time. For that moment in Tempe when some guy I barely knew grabbed me and told me through tears that he'd been waiting his whole life for this, and that I was only 17 and I'd better appreciate it.
Thanks for making Tennessee good enough that I can lay here at 12:49 AM and write about them, and that enough people care enough about them to read it.
For years Fulmer has gathered the team, said a few kind words about each senior, then the player runs down a row of players and hits a tackling dummy. This time there was a twist. After all the seniors went down the line, Fulmer, who is coaching his last game for UT this weekend against Kentucky, ran through the formation and landed on the mat.
"The last tackle is always special as we introduce those guys," Fulmer said. "I got in on a clean-up block. I didn't have to hit (the dummy). It was already on the ground. I just cleaned it up a little bit."
When asked last week about the tragedies, Fulmer made no excuses. They had nothing to do with the poor results, nothing to do with missing a bowl game. No excuse for his firing.
But it was a lesson in perspective, Fulmer said.
His team has lost seven football games this year.
His team has lost nine family members and friends.
They are some of the worst losses of Fulmer's career.
And they have nothing to do with Alabama, Georgia or Florida.
I shouldn't even have to type this, and my voice reaches merely hundreds on this blog and not the thousands who will show up in the grand scheme of things. But don't prove the Alabama fans right, who've been saying that Vol faithful will laugh and boo Fulmer off the field in his final game. Even if Kentucky beats us by a ton and we look and play terrible.
Phillip Fulmer has given us his life. We can give him Saturday.
David Cutlciffe is not coming back to Tennessee: Should Tennessee make a change at head coach, and that is beginning to look more likely by the day, there has been speculation that David Cutcliffe, who served two terms as the Tennessee OC and is now the head coach at Duke (4-3) might return. It’s understandable that Cutcliffe’s name would come up. Here are the numbers: With Cutcliffe calling the plays, Phillip Fulmer’s teams were 85-19. With somebody else calling the plays, the record is 65-31. But it’s not going to happen. Cutcliffe and Fulmer are very close. The only way Cutcliffe comes back is if Fulmer gave his blessing and convinced him that it was for the good of the program. I know this has become a cutthroat business, but there is still a little loyalty left out there. Isn’t there?
Hamilton said finances won’t be an issue if a change is made. He said there is a $7 million reserve in place to cover such unforeseen expenses. That would nearly cover the cost of the football coaches’ buyouts, which Hamilton said could be over $7.5 million. That figure depends on whether coaches are hired elsewhere.
UT also will receive an extra $15 million from the SEC’s new deal with television partner ESPN, which would give UT more flexibility to fire and hire coaches.
I wasn’t expecting a subpoena but maybe every time I go to Birmingham I probably will be expecting a subpoena.