Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has expressed interest in getting back into football recently. He’ll get his wish at East Tennessee State.
The university announced on Tuesday that Fulmer would serve as a special assistant to the athletic director for football — I swear that’s his real title and not one of my corny “Office” references — as the school restarts a program that was disbanded in 2003.
“When you have a chance to use the knowledge and skill of a Hall of Fame coach who has won a national championship and is revered as one of the truly great coaches in college football, you have to jump on that opportunity,” AD Richard Sander said during a press conference. “Phil Fulmer will make a huge contribution to the success of ETSU football.”
Fulmer has been out of coaching since being released by Tennessee in 2008. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this past year after posting a 152-52 record with the Vols over his career, which included a national championship.
“It is very exciting to be asked to work with Dr. Noland and Dr. Sander to help them any way I can to launch college football again at ETSU,” Fulmer said. “I am extremely impressed with Dr. Noland’s passion to build upon and enhance the culture of excellence at ETSU. Dr. Noland and Dr. Sander both believe and understand that sports, and in this case football, is important to both the students and the alumni of a university. It can help them enjoy and enhance the college experience, as well as stay connected for years to come.”
Fulmer’s shown interest in previous openings at Arkansas and Kansas, but was ultimately passed over.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.