Phillip Fulmer's biography

Phillip Fulmer's biography


KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Phillip Fulmer was at his alma mater the University of Tennessee as a player, assistant coach and head coach for more than 30 years.

Before he coached

Fulmer, who's 58, grew up in Winchester, Tennessee where he attended Franklin County High School.

Fulmer enrolled at the University of Tennessee in 1968 and played as an offensive guard. The Vols had a 30-5 record from 1969-71.

Fulmer played for coaches Doug Dickey (who was also a UT athletic director and hired Fulmer) and Bill Battle.

The Vols won the SEC championship (9-2) in 1969. The team went 11-1 and won the Sugar Bowl in 1970. They finished as Liberty Bowl champions with a 10-2 record in 1971.

Early coaching career

Fulmer was as linebacker coach and defensive coordinator for the Vols freshman team in 1973. He moved to Wichita State University the next season.

He was at Wichita State for five years. He coached the offensive line in 1974 and 1977-78 and served as linebacker coach in 1975-76.

Fulmer then did a one-season stint at Vanderbilt as an aide to Commodores head coach George MacIntyre.

Head coach at Tennessee

Beginning in 1980, Fulmer was a Vols assistant coach for 13 years before becoming the 20th head football coach at Tennessee. He was hired after a controversial decision to replace then-coach Johnny Majors, who'd been ill.

Tennessee won two SEC championships, in 1997 and 1998 and a national championship in 1998, the first ever BCS National Championship Game.

The Vols made three other SEC Championship game appearances in 2001, 2004, and 2007, but lost all three.

His winning percentage is still among the top in the country for coaches who have over 10  years' experience.

The Vols appeared in three consecutive Bowl Alliance or BCS games from 1997 to 1999, and posted 10 or more wins from 1995 to 1998.

The 1998 senior class had a 45-5 record, only losing to Florida (three times), Nebraska and Memphis.

Fulmer is part of an elite coaching list since he's hit 100 games over the .500 mark. He joins Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Jim Tressel, Steve Spurrier, Chris Ault and Frank Beamer as the only active coaches in that group.

Fulmer had two losing seasons at Tennessee, in 2005 and 2008. The 2005 season kept the Vols out of a bowl game for the first time since 1988, ending a 16 year streak.

Fulmer received a contract extension after the 2007 season, but the 2008 season proved to be his undoing.

Family man

Fulmer is married to the former Vicky Morey and they have four children: Phillip Jr., Courtney, Brittany and Allison.

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