The conversation on who will be the Vols' next athletic director is sure to go a number of different directions, but among the masses it will start here. It's been less than three years since Phillip Fulmer was on the Tennessee sideline, and now that both the coach who replaced him and the athletic director who oversaw the process are no longer in the picture, the window could be open for Fulmer to return to a place of power in the Tennessee administration.
It's one part feel-good hire, and we see this idea all the time (Chris Burke for baseball coach! Dane Bradshaw for assistant!). It's one part "the circle is now complete". And it wouldn't be unheard of, on this campus or several others, as Fulmer could join guys like Barry Alvarez, Mike Belotti, and of course, Doug Dickey as coaches-turned-ADs at the same institution.
But is it a good idea? Fulmer has no experience from an administration or non-football standpoint. He's clearly an old school guy, though that's not to say he couldn't adapt where needed. And it would create, shall we say, an interesting dynamic for Derek Dooley, to have a boss who was on that sideline just three seasons ago.
On the other hand, Fulmer was so incredibly loyal to his assistants as a coach, maybe he's the safest possible hire for Dooley. I have no idea what the nature of the relationship between Fulmer and Dooley is, but it's safe to say it's at least a little better than the one between Fulmer and Kiffin. I'm sure Fulmer likes Dooley not only because he's not Kiffin, but also because he's of Fulmer's mold and background.
But before we get into any further speculation, is this even a good idea? Is Phillip Fulmer just the popular gut reaction name that gets shouted by the masses but has no merit among the decision makers...or is this a genuine possibility? And if it is...would it be a good choice?