serendipitous reflections

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sad day for Vols

It's funny, really, the way it was communicated, that Tennessee will "go in a different direction" with it's coaching staff next season, instead of saying that they are firing Coach Fulmer after 16 years as head coach and a .750 winning percentage. There's no denying that the 2008 season has not gone the way any UT fan would have liked, but I hate to see a good run end this way. As a fan, I've always been proud of the way that Fulmer's teams conducted themselves. They talk about how he was a mentor and how Tennessee is a family, and you could see it in the character of the players.

On a personal note, I appreciated his character and kindness when he had a chance to give some to us. When Jeni's Mom was sick, and her cancer was returning, a friend of her's wrote to Coach Fulmer. (Gary Williams, a coach from Jeni's high school, had played with Fulmer.) Coach Williams wanted to see if Fulmer could get Carolyn tickets for the UT/Alabama game since Jeni was at UT and Chris went to Alabama. Unfortunately he couldn't get her tickets, but he did write her a very nice, personal response, and even offered tickets to the homecoming game, which Carolyn turned down (she probably would have politely refused the Bama tickets, too, but the thought was very nice). We still have the letter. We never knew about it, really, until after Carolyn passed away and Coach Williams gave Jeni the letter he wrote, along with Phil's response.

We will definitely miss Phil Fulmer on the Tennessee sidelines. It is the end of an era. I just hope Tennessee doesn't start to resemble Notre Dame, Miami or Nebraska, once great schools with a revolving door in the coach's office.



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