It seems fairly obvious at this point that Phillip Fulmer will receive a contract extension to continue to serve as Athletics Director at The University of Tennessee.
To a large degree, the length of that extension and the money involved will hinge on what Fulmer wants at this point in his life. Remember, he was asked to take over the AD job during a time that amounted to a national joke in the recruitment of a new football coach.
It’s always nice to be wanted. Or in this case, for Fulmer, needed. It gives you a little bargaining power.
Since it’s too early to judge the new football coach — which will come after he loses a game he should have won or isn’t impressive in crushing some non-conference opponent — Tennessee fans spend their time focused on other issues.
The main issue discussed lately is that of Holly Warlick. The Lady Vols head basketball coach’s teams haven’t measured up to the bar set by the legendary Pat Summit. To be fair, who could? But Warlick’s consecutive second round exits in the big dance aren’t sitting well with a fanbase that is accustomed to cutting down the nets in March.
Further than that, stretches of inconsistent play and losses during conference play haven’t helped her cause.
Tennessee has two seasons with double-digit losses in Warlick’s six seasons. Summit had just two double-digit loss seasons from 1986-2012. Finishes of 7th, 4th and 5th in the SEC regular season standings over the last three years just aren’t going to get it done in Knoxville.
Will Warlick get another season? Probably. But the bar will be set extremely high. The team will be expected to win the SEC regular season and win the conference tournament. A top seed and a strong finish in the NCAA tournament is a necessity. Anything less, at least by Vols’ fans standards, is unacceptable.
Another disappointing March for Warlick may force Fulmer to make an uncomfortable decision.