Former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer was appointed as the university’s Athletics Director during one of the most hectic and turbulent times in the program’s history. John Currie had just been suspended after botching the Vols’ hiring process for a head football coach, and Fulmer was put in charge of finding the next head coach immediately.
Fulmer delivered not even a week on the job, and now that things have calmed down at Tennessee, he’s officially getting a long-term contract.
UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport announced via a press release on Thursday morning that Fulmer would be getting a four-year contract as Tennessee’s Athletics Director. Fulmer was officially announced as AD on December 1st, 2017, and his duration in the position was in question at the time. Some thought he might only be in office for a few months, while others believed Tennessee had signed him to a two-year contract.
Neither of those turned out to be true, however, and Fulmer will now reside as Tennessee’s AD for at least the next four years.
“Phillip has been a great partner over the last four months, and I commend him for the work he has done with our student-athletes, coaches, and staff,” Davenport said via a release. “Phillip has been connected to the University of Tennessee and its athletics program for more than 40 years, and he understands the expectations we have for our athletics department.
“He is surrounded by a very knowledgeable staff that is deeply committed to the success of our student-athletes. I look forward to our continued partnership.”
Fulmer has been involved with UT athletics for decades. He played on the offensive line from 1968-71, joined the UT coaching staff as the offensive line coach in 1980, was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1989, and took over as head coach in 1992. Fulmer would serve as the Vols’ head coach for 17 years, going 152-52 in that span. His Vol squads made five appearances in the SEC Championship Game and won the 1998 National Championship after an undefeated season.
After Fulmer was fired after the 2008 football season, he stepped away from Tennessee athletics for a time. But when Currie was hired as AD, he was eventually hired on in a support role with the university in the summer of 2017. He served in that role until he was promoted to AD in December of last year.
“I am very grateful to Chancellor Davenport for the opportunity to continue to serve our outstanding university and its proud legacy,” Fulmer stated via the same release. “The positive momentum established by our talented student-athletes, dedicated coaches, excellent staff, our great alumni and fans has united us all. I am excited to work alongside them as we push forward in pursuit of excellence in all sports.”
Fulmer has already made several important decisions while serving as UT’s AD. He hired Jeremy Pruitt as Tennessee’s head football coach, and he also hired Eve Rackham to be the new volleyball coach. He also signed Brian Pensky to a contract extension to continue to lead the Lady Vols’ soccer program.
Tennessee’s release failed to mention if Fulmer will be receiving a raise with his new contract. It was reported back in early December that Fulmer would be making around $575,000 annually as Tennessee’s AD with his initial contract.
UPDATE: According to a report from 247Sports, Fulmer’s contract will pay him $900,000 annually. He will receive a retention bonus of $100,000 at the end of each year that he remains the AD for Tennessee.
The report also states that Fulmer will receive bonuses for receiving graduation rates above 83 percent for all of UT’s student-athletes and top-40 finishes nationally in the annual Director’s Cup standings.