For the interim season, as many know, Long could have hired Fulmer. He really wanted the job. But he wanted to be the coach, not an interim, not temporary.
I was told there was a fear our suppprters would have revolted — not exciting, etc.
But many in the know told me he was a great coach and a phenomenal recruiter — and all thought he would be very successful. The big winning would have won over the fans. But Long wanted him to prove himself and bring the fans around — thus the interim hire.
That failure of leadership — leaders do what is best not popular — may prove to be one of those moments that changed history.
Excellent point about Long. He made some really bad decisions. Really bad.
Fulmer would have been a good hire. IMO
I give my Tennessee friends (here in Chattanooga) a lot of grief about firing Fulmer. Just today I asked one if he thought it might not have been a good idea with the string of issues they have had since. He said obviously it was a bad mistake.
It is always laughable to read comments about the former AD.
Makes me wonder how many haters wanted a Broyles-recommended “yes man” instead of a fresh start.
I told several people that I didn’t think he could survive three years. He made ten. In the process, he overhauled facilities, dramatically improved academics, and (in general) brought UA into the 21st century as an athletic department. He earned a load of respect from outside of Arkansas in his time at UA.
I disliked the corporate approach to so many changes.
Mostly, I find it odd that so many continue to gripe and moan about him. Kinda sad.
That was kind of my thought, too. Fulmer had two losing seasons in his final four years at Tennessee and never landed anywhere else. I think age had some to do with it. He was in his late 50s when he left UT. Most programs want a coach they can envision being in a role for 10 years. There are some, but not many head coaches that make it into their late 60s or 70s.
Well for the record Tenn hasn’t done much since Fulmer left, except burn thru coaches like us.
I think he would have been the best choice after BP hit the ditch. The team was in disarray & the program embarrassed with the scandal. Fulmer had the experience & winner on the big stage & could have kept the team focused amid all of the distractions. Would have brought in better assistants. Plus recruit much better. We were still considered winners at the time & ranked so Phil would have wanted to prove himself again.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we approached Petersen’s agent, but he was declining everyone’s interview until he suddenly took U-Dub. We weren’t the only Power 5 school sniffing around him by a long shot.
Petrino is the only coach that had a team ranked in the final AP top 10 since we moved to the much more demanding SEC. Lo
This league is much tougher than the SWC. I expect the Hogs to be a consistent bowl team. I have my doubts about any success against Alabama until Saban retires. The rest of the league is tough, but on most Saturdays, we can be competative and win a lot of games. That will require good coaching and consistent top 20 recruiting. And a winning culture!
Morris needs to continue to focus on recruiting. The talent on campus is not that good, but the biggest problem is the culture of losing. Since Petrino, Bielema had one decent team. Everything else has been fair to poor. The current performance will not work. A lot of major contributors were alienated by Jeff Long and they need to see progress before they write big checks.
I am still a big fan and financial supporter and I just want some winning football. Coach Morris seems to be a very good recruiter and he needs a lot of good football players. I just hope that in 2020, we are not still rebuilding. In the interim, I will continue to call the Hogs and will be a supporter of the program. WPS
No game to discuss, so might as well do some clarification and keep talking.
Not sure many of the responses are talking about the same thing this post discusses — I’m NOT talking about after the 2012 season — in December when there are lots of coaches available. I’m talking about the spring of 2012 right after motorcyclegate and just months before the 2012 season. That’s the worst time to be without a coach and looking for one.
I’m talking in the late spring/early summer after all the hires have been made months earlier, long after coaches are settled into new jobs and those in jobs are not looking to leave. Remember that time? The pickings were slim.
We hired John L. Smith — when we could have hired Phil Fulmer. Neither were in coaching jobs — which was why they were available.
Fulmer did not excite me at all, but in my talks with one in the Razorback Athletic Department, that person opened my eyes. And being that he does college athletics for a living and I don’t —- I listened. He told me this. Fulmer was a phenomenal recruiter; he got highly rated recruits to Knoxville (and for whatever reason that was a challenge when he did it). Great recruiter is what everyone is betting on with Coach Morris, so it’s important. And Fulmer was a great head coach. He won a national title, and before his slide to 8-4 seasons and lower tiered bowl games, Tennessee was the top team in the S.E.C. East with Florida. Talk to any of the big Vols donors/supporters and they still bemoan the bone-headed move of running him off. Tennessee has been awful — terrible — since Fulmer was run out of town — those 8-4 Fulmer seasons have been far and few between since Fulmer left. There’s a reason this year they brought Fulmer back to find their next football coach and made him their Athletic Director.
My point again was — in that interim — long before the December 2012 search that included all the usual suspects could be conducted, back in the spring when we fired BP — in hindsight, would we have been better off with Fulmer instead of John L. Smith?
Anybody remember what happened with John L. Smith — the loss to Louisiana-Monroe, etc? Replace the 2012 4-8 under John L with a 9-3 or 10-2 under Fulmer…Fulmer would have remained our head coach, no Bielema —
That’s the moment that could have changed the course of history.
If you weren’t going to keep Fulmer for more than a year, I don’t see that it would have made much difference. Maybe we go 6-6 instead of 4-8, but you’re still looking for a full-time coach in December either way. And PF’s recruiting prowess doesn’t make much difference for an interim coach. It’s a complete pipe dream to think Fulmer would have gotten nine wins out of that bunch. Especially with the injuries we had that year.
I am a Phil Fulmer fan. I know him. I’ve spent time with him over the last two or three years and know what was going on. What I’ll say is that the only way he was going to coach again is if he was given an unbelievable salary and a budget to hire the top coaches who had worked for him. But, I don’t know that there was that much money available at that time, for such a hire. I don’t think it was doable because of the finances.
Phil Fulmer with David Cutcliffe and John Chavis as coordinators was a great coach. I don’t think he could get either one when that was going down at Arkansas. So what were you going to get?
And, I don’t see that anyone else had the confidence that he could have hired those either, because he never got another chance, right?
Budget wise, if you spent $5 million on the head coach, what’s left for assistant coaches? What I see with Morris is that he’s not making $5 million. And, his budget – except for Chavis – seems pretty doable.
The thing that is interesting is that it looks like that kind of money was doable when Gus Malzahn was in play last winter because there were some boosters ready to pony up. No one was doing that for Fulmer and what it would have taken to get him to coach again – hire an expensive staff and pay a big head coach salary.
Since I live in Tennessee I hear a lot of moaning and growning about Vol football decline since Phil was fired. That is when I ask “do you think it may have been a bad decision to fire Phil”. They don’t like that question but every one so far have agreed that firing Phil was a huge mistake.
My daughter is friends with Phil’s daughter and has been around Phil at a function. She highly of the Fulmer family.