Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer: ‘no magic dust’ for Vols football

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer says there will be no shortcuts in fixing the football program.

Fulmer, 152-52 as the Vols head coach from 1992-2008, knows precisely where new coach Jeremy Pruitt need to start when spring drills open on March 20.

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It’s about recruiting the right kind of kids and it’s about everybody supporting them and developing them and giving them a chance to compete at the highest level and being fundamentally good,” Fulmer said on The SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Shown on Wednesday.

Football fix

“We haven’t been a very fundamentally good football team in probably 9 or 10 years, (so) hopefully we can get back to that,” the first ballot College Football Hall of Famer said. “Those are the recipes, there’s no magic dust to sprinkle on it and make everything fine. There’s a lot of work in front of us.”

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Fulmer is confident as ever in Pruitt, who has been a part of championship level coaching staffs at Alabama, Florida State and Georgia.

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He’s exactly what we needed — he’s a no-nonsense guy, he’s a ball coach,” Fulmer said. “He’s the coach that you loved and you feared at the same time because you wanted his respect …”

Paul “Bear” Bryant tie-in

Fulmer’s description of Pruitt could easily be applied to former Alabama College Football Hall of Fame coach Gene Stallings, a protege of the great Paul “Bear” Bryant.

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Pruitt played for Stallings in 1995 and 1996 before joining the Alabama coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1997.

Johnny Majors influence

Pruitt’s coaching background also resembles Fulmer’s, in many respects.

“Everything a head coach needs to have done as an assistant coach, he’d done it starting at the very bottom,” Fulmer said. “I reflect on my time before I was a head coach, Coach (Johnny) Majors gave me a lot of responsibility all the way up to being a coordinator and assistant head coach, so I prepared myself for that moment, and (Pruitt) was definitely prepared.”

Fulmer said he talked with several people around the SEC about Pruitt during the coaching search in December, including Nick Saban.

“I included a lot of people in the search ….  people out there in the conference that have had great success, a nd I think they were excited to talk to me as well because I knew the history of our league and had played in it and had kinda earned my stripes,” Fulmer said, “so they were very honest with me about the candidates we were talking to.

I think we came down in the right place and got the right guy.”

SEC Country exclusive stories on Jeremy Pruitt from College Football Playoff in New Orleans and Atlanta:

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