ESPN sources: Phillip Fulmer is ‘top candidate’ for UT athletic director job

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Former University of Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer is the top candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant athletic director position, sources told ESPN on Monday.

The sports network contacted Fulmer, who did not specifically address the athletic director position, but didn’t rule out being a candidate.

“Since I was 18 years old, UT’s best interests have always been my interest,” Fulmer told “I want what is best for UT. Dr. [Beverly] Davenport [UT’s newly named chancellor] has laid out a clear process, and we have to respect the time and her vision to complete that process.”

Current athletic director Dave Hart announced he would retire last August at the end of his contract this coming June. Fulmer was head coach of the vols from 1992 to 2008 when he was fired after four losing seasons in a row. He led the team to its first national championship in nearly 50 years in 1998.

In recent years, Phil Fulmer worked with East Tennessee State University in reviving its football program. ETSU hired Fulmer as a consultant. We reported in 2015, he would earned near $167,000 a year for two years.

News Channel 11 reached out the ETSU Athletic’s Department and a spokesperson told us Fulmer was no longer involved with ETSU Athletics.

WJHL contributed to this report. 

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