May 15th, 2012 10:23 PM║ Posted By: Josh Ward ║ Permalink
Tags: Dave Hart, Doug Matthews, Weber State, WGFX
Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer’s name surfaced last month in connection with the Arkansas coaching job after the Razorbacks fired Bobby Petrino.
Doug Matthews – a former Tennessee assistant coach and friend of Fulmer – told WGFX-FM in Nashville that communication had been made by Arkansas with Fulmer, who denied at the time having been contacted by the Razorbacks.
Arkansas, of course, decided to hire John L. Smith, who served as an assistant in Fayetteville from 2009-11 before leaving for a brief stint as Weber State’s head coach.
But Fulmer, who was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, made it clear he would have been very interested in coaching at Arkansas had the Razorbacks offered him the position.
“The Arkansas job I would have jumped all over,” Fulmer said Tuesday during an interview on WGFX. “That was a really special situation and a really good team and had a chance. And that’s what I’ve said all along – I’m looking for an opportunity you can go compete for championships. At this stage in my career, I’m not looking for a dead end somewhere.
“I miss coaching. I also enjoy time with my family and children and grandchildren and all those things and the business that I’m in. Once you’ve done it for as long as I have, you have a passion for young people and the competition and all those things. You obviously miss it.”
Fulmer, who told WGFX that Arkansas officials spoke to his representatives, said he recognized why the Razorbacks went with Smith.
“I certainly understand the familiarity with John L. was a good thing for them as it turns out and I hope he does well,” Fulmer said.
Fulmer is more than familiar with Tennessee having served as a player, assistant coach and head coach at the school. He was asked if he could see himself returning to the school in an administrative or other role in the future.
“You never say never in the athletics world,” Fulmer said. “Today is kind of more of a day to celebrate what all we accomplished as a staff and as an organization during that time and not really to reflect on what could be somewhere down the road. Tennessee is my school and I love it dearly and the people that had anything to do with my leaving Tennessee are not there any longer and we’ll see what happens.”
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart appears hopeful that Fulmer’s presence on campus will be more frequent. He was asked Tuesday during the school’s caravan stop if he would like to see Fulmer around the program more often in the future.
“Absolutely, and that’s what I’ve stressed to him,” Hart said.
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