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Fulmer: ‘Coaching chapter of my life is closed’

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It’s not happening.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at West Virginia Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been very careful around here to not give any life to the rumors that Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer would eventually return to the sidelines if he fired Jeremy Pruitt. But we will take this opportunity to pass along what Fulmer said tonight on Vol Calls.

Fulmer, who was the head coach at Tennessee from 1992-2008, handpicked Jeremy Pruitt to take over the football program in the middle of a messy coaching search two years ago. After a slow start in year two, the easy rumor to pump up was that Fulmer would eventually just fire Pruitt and take over himself.

Tonight on Vol Calls, Fulmer shot that notion down.

Fulmer took over the athletic director post in the middle of that coaching search in 2017. John Currie was called back to Knoxville in the middle of a meeting with Washington State head coach Mike Leach. When he returned to Tennessee, he was fired. Fulmer took over from there.

Jeremy Pruitt was Fulmer’s pick to bring the program back to relevance, but it’s off to a rocky start in year two. Tennessee is 1-3, which includes losses to Georgia State and BYU at home. With No. 3 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama coming in the next few weeks, things seem poised to get worse before they get better.

It’s reasonable to ponder Pruitt’s future in Knoxville at this point, but that future isn’t going to involve Phillip Fulmer putting on a headset and roaming the sidelines again — no matter how much some in the media want you to believe.