Former Vol Wilhoit says Fulmer would return to UT

Former Vol Wilhoit says Fulmer would return to UT (Image 1)

As the University of Tennessee continues to search for a new head coach, a former Vols player said he believes Phillip Fulmer would take the position for a second time.

Former kicker James Wilhoit, like many, said it's frustrating to see the Volunteers struggle to find a head coach.

“No one wants to get turned down publicly for a coaching job, especially with the pride Tennessee fans have,” he told Nashville's News 2. “We're going to be turned down by a few people because we're going after some of the best coaches in the country.”

Currently UT has offered the position to former UT assistant, now television analyst Jon Gruden, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and Louisville's Charlie Strong.

All have spurned those offers.

“It's frustrating because you want a coach now and that's the way we all are, but this is still one of the top 10 to 12 jobs in the country and we're going to get a very good coach,” Wilhoit said.

There are some national sportswriters who question now whether Tennessee is still one of the best coaching jobs in the country.

“There's no question, it's one of the top 10 to 12 jobs in the country with the facilities over at Tennessee with being in the SEC, the premier conference, you can recruit across the country with that brand,” said Wilhoit.

Wilhoit played for the Volunteers between 2003-2006. He is best remembered for kicking a 51 yard game winning field goal against Florida in 2004.

“I think it can be a tough job and so some of these people aren't ready to come in here in the SEC and face Florida and Georgia and Alabama every year,” he said.

On UT message boards there is talk that Tennessee should re-hire Phil Fulmer. Fulmer was fired during a 5-7 season in 2008.

“You know I don't think it's a bad idea to be honest with you. Coach Fulmer has done an incredible job while he was here. We had some lean years and there's been enough time that's gone by,” Wihoit said.

He continued, “He would come back. As much as he loves Tennessee, he would love to come back and try to correct the mistakes that were made.”

Wilhoit now runs his own kicking school, James Wilhoit Kicking Coach in Sumner County, working with high school kickers in Tennessee.

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