College Football: National Notebook
The national notebook …
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer considered retiring when he was on top of college football. Now his time with the Volunteers is winding down and his team is simply playing out the string.
Fulmer said he mulled retirement after the Vols’ 1998 national championship season and in 2001, when they nearly played for another national title.
“We played for the (SEC) championship five out of the last 11 years. So it isn’t like we just had reason to be looking to retire,” Fulmer told The Associated Press.
Fulmer’s being forced to leave his job after 17 years. This year, the Vols have lost seven games for only the second time in history. It’s only Fulmer’s second losing season, though both have come in the last four years.
But Fulmer he doesn’t regret the decision to stick around.
Fulmer was urged by his wife, Vicky, to quit after the ’98 season. He acknowledges that Vicky and his children, now grown, paid a huge price for the amount of work he’s put in as coach.
They talked about it again when the Vols were one game away from playing in the title game in ’01 after a 10-1 regular season, but lost in the SEC championship game and played in the Fiesta Bowl instead.
“If we’d won that championship game and played for (the national title) and maybe won it again, maybe you do it then. I had several chances to do other things at other places,” Fulmer said without specifying what those other opportunities were.
Three years after retiring, 69-year-old Bill Snyder has returned to Kansas State to replace his fired replacement.
“I was a lot more surprised when he retired than I was when I heard he was coming back,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said.
When they visited a few weeks ago, Mangino said Snyder gave no indication that he would return to coaching. But K-State also hadn’t yet fired coach Ron Prince.
While expressing their respect for Snyder, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said they couldn’t see themselves retiring and returning several years later.
“I told some of my staff, if I do that when I’m 69, I hope somebody comes and takes me out,” Pinkel said.
“Probably not,” Leach said. “But Bill Snyder is one of the most impressive coaches in the history of the game.”
It’s well understood that if Oregon State wins the Civil War against Oregon on Saturday, the Beavers will head to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1964 season.
It’s also clear that if Oregon State loses and USC beats UCLA next week, the Trojans will go to the Rose Bowl for the fourth straight year.
YALEYale football coach Jack Siedlecki announced he is retiring after 12 years and two Ivy League championships, but he’ll be staying at the university to become assistant athletic director.
Siedlecki was 70-47 and 47-37 in the conference during his tenure.