NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “Joke of the sports world” and “big ol’ mess” are words heard earlier today about UT and its futile search for a football coach.
But it appears many of the outspoken legislative critics think a big step has been taken Friday afternoon with Phil Fulmer named as the athletic director for the “foreseeable future.”
Rep. Jeremy Faison was one of the first state lawmakers to tweet Sunday against Greg Schiano becoming coach, but late Friday afternoon he tweeted “You are getting it right! That meant you listened to #RockyTop! #Proud #TnStrong.”
Faison was among an unprecedented social media outcry that began Sunday against Schiano because of his ties to Penn State during the time of the child molestation scandal involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Schiano denied any knowledge of the scandal, but plans to hire him were scuttled by UT who then spent this past week with numerous unsuccessful attempts at hiring prominent coaches.
Faison on Friday said numerous constituents had been calling him to do something about the UT situation.
He cited the words of one of the callers.
“She said ‘Jeremy would you please tell them that they are not the university of the world, they are the University of Tennessee and they need to quit being stupid,’ ” said the lawmaker. “I feel I have to say these things (from constituents).”
Faision said he doesn’t expect his fellow lawmakers to back down about the UT athletic department or the university in general because lawmakers through committees can hold sway over purse strings and policy.
“I chair government operations (committee), every single rule that U-T passes comes to me. I have some influence there,” added the lawmaker.