JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – He is a football legend, a Hall of Famer and a national champion and now he is one of the highest paid employees in East Tennessee State University’s department of athletics.
According to Phillip Fulmer’s contract with ETSU, he is scheduled to make $166,965 per year for the next two years.
The former University of Tennessee football coach signed on in April to help shape ETSU’s football program.
Fulmer was originally just on a four-month, $30,000 contract, but he’s since signed a contract with ETSU that extends his employment as “Special Assistant to the Athletic Director and Advisor to Football.”
According to his most recent contract, which went into effect in July, Fulmer will continue to work for ETSU through June 2015, just three months before the football team officially plays its first game.
Fulmer will make $13,913 per month during that time period, which is a little more than the base salary of Carl Torbush, the football coach he helped hire.
So far, ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Dick Sander says Fulmer has been responsible for helping find the coach and creating a vision for the program.
“He’s really an important part of the team,” Dr. Sander said. “To be honest, the more he’s got involved, the more he’s done.”
Dr. Sander says Fulmer has also brought instant credibility to the program.
“I don’t think there is anybody in the State of Tennessee that has more credibility than Phillip Fulmer,” Dr. Sander said.
In addition, Dr. Sander says Fulmer continues to attend alumni functions, meet with former players and most importantly, continues to reach out to potential donors.
According to the athletic director, he talks with Fulmer almost daily and when they’re not chatting by phone, Fulmer is here in-person, on average about six to seven days a month.
“That homecoming week I guess he was here all week,” Dr. Sander said. “If he’s coming up for a couple days, we’ll try to see some donors, maybe play some golf with some folks.”
When he visits, Dr. Sander says Fulmer is usually introducing potential donors to the coach, athletic director and president. Dr. Sander says those potential donors could help with money to build a stadium and provide gifts for operational expenses.
Dr. Sander says the visits are already paying off and could pay even bigger dividends in the future. In fact, he says the amount of money one particular donor is considering giving the football program would dwarf Fulmer’s salary.
“One of the individuals that we’re talking to right now to be a major donor is probably only involved because of Phillip Fulmer,” Dr. Sander said. “If that comes through that may be somewhere in the $3 million to $5 million gift and it’s only coming because of one person.”
In addition to Fulmer’s monthly salary, ETSU also reimburses the consultant for travel expenses. Since April, ETSU says it has given Fulmer $2,262 to cover his travel expenses.
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