It took him a little while longer than he hoped, but Phillip Fulmer landed the job he wanted all along.
With a coaching search that was seemingly botched at every turn, John Currie was fired as Tennessee’s athletic director following a meeting Friday morning with university officials. It was reported that some individuals, including Fulmer, had undermined and sabotaged the search process in a concerted effort to oust Currie, who was on the job for just nine months before his dismissal.
At the time of the initial Currie reports, one school of thought had Fulmer taking over the job; according to ESPN.com‘s Chris Low, school is in session as Fulmer is expected to take over AD responsibilities at the school. “It is still being finalized whether Fulmer will take the athletic director role on an interim basis through the remainder of the school’s search for a new football coach or be named the permanent AD,” Low wrote.
The university subsequently confirmed Fulmer has been named acting AD.
“Phillip Fulmer will begin serving as athletic director effective immediately,” UT-K Chancellor Beverly Davenport said in a statement. “I have taken these steps in the best interest of the university.”
“I am confident that Phillip understands the need to support our student-athletes and our commitment to excellence in all athletic programs. I appreciate his willingness to serve during this critical time.”
“No one better understands the storied history of Vol athletics and its deep connection to alumni and fans, and I believe he will be a unifying presence for all of us committed to the university’s success.
A four p.m. ET press conference has been scheduled and will likely clarify Fulmer’s role moving forward.
Fulmer, of course, has deep, extensive ties to the university and the state.
A native of Winchester, Tenn, Fulmer played his college football for the Volunteers in the late sixties. He began his coaching career at UT as a grad assistant from 1972-73, then returned as offensive line coach in 1980. After spending 13 seasons as an assistant, he took over as the Volunteers head coach in 1992 — Johnny Majors has always alleged Fulmer was behind his ouster — and spent 17 seasons leading his alma mater.
In that span, Fulmer went 152-52, winning a pair of SEC titles and the 1998 national championship.