College Football: Fulmer laying low, but wants back in coaching
NEW YORK ó Phillip Fulmer plans to spend this football season working for an investment firm, doing some television work and even taking a few weekends off.
By next season, the former Tennessee coach expects to be back on the sideline and back in the spotlight.
“I have a great picture in mind,” he said Monday of what he’s hoping for in his next coaching job. “Somebody that’s committed to winning championships and being the best that they can be, with a chance to compete in a conference that’s nationally recognized. I’m not going to go walk into a door somewhere that you have no chance to be successful.
“I want to be on the big stage and recruit against the best that’s out there.”
In 17 seasons at Tennessee, proved he could compete with the best in the business. The Vols went 152-52, won two Southeastern Conference championships and a national championship in 1998.
But Tennessee finished with a losing record in two of his last four seasons, including last season’s 5-7 mark. He was forced out before the season ended.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted to go out,” he said.
Fulmer was in New York to prepare for his new gig as an analyst for CBS College Sports Network’s new SEC post game show, which will air after CBS’ Saturday afternoon SEC game of the week.
In an interview with The AP, he said he holds no hard feelings toward Tennessee, “It’s a big boys’ business,” he said.
But the end of his time as Vols coach left him wanting more.
“I just don’t think I’m finished. I’m a young guy. I’ve got great energy.”
Fulmer, who will be 59 next month, said he’s already working on a staff.
“When you win 75 percent of the games you’ve played, you’ve done something right. I would think there would be some opportunities.”
Fulmer’s replacement at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin, has been making headlines in the offseason for talking trash and inadvertently breaking some NCAA rules.
Fulmer took a pass on talking about his successor, except to say “You just got to wait and see. It took me a couple of years to kind of make my way.”
Fulmer planned to take six months off after being let go by Tennessee. It turned into six weeks. A former player offered him a partnership in an investment firm doing one of the things he did best as a coach: recruiting. Instead of trying to convince blue-chippers to wear Vols orange, he’s now trying to woo investors.
He’s had some time to take it easy, too. He went hunting in Argentina and has been spending quality time with his 1-year-old grandson. He plans to spend at least a few Saturdays watching football like a fan this fall and lounging around his vacation house in the mountains near Knoxville, Tenn.
He’s also been visiting campuses and NFL camps, updating his notes and trying to learn a few new coaching tricks. He’s already spent time at Ohio State and Duke, where his good friend and longtime offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe is now the coach, and plans to drop in on Mack Brown and Texas later this month.
While in New York this week, he planned to visit Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants in Albany, N.Y.
“I’ve gone through all my organizational stuff and redone it and worked on it and added to it and taken out,” he said. “I’m either going to be ready to go coach again or write one hell of a book.”