“Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.’’
That came from the pen of Sir Walter Scott eons ago.
“The Vols could mess up a one-car Christmas parade.’’ Author unknown, but I’ll credit the Tennessee hierarchy including UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, former and (suspended) fired UT Athletics Director John Currie and the ghost of President Joe DiPietro.
The current chaos that surrounded Tennessee’s search for hiring a new head football coach after firing Currie, has enough blame to cover all of the Smoky Mountains. Currie should have never been hired in the first place.
As I write this Saturday night, Tennessee has anointed former head football coach Phillip Fulmer and his new best friend Davenport. Others played roles in what has the Tennessee football program in disarray.
At a press conference Friday, Fulmer stole a line from former UT President Joe Johnson who said the school’s football team was the front porch of the university. Johnson went on to explain UT graduates and non-graduates alike gather on weekends to follow the Big Orange Nation. They don’t draw over 100,00 fans to sit in on a chemistry or any other academics class.
But mess up the football program and you are in deep trouble.
So the old football coach slides into the AD’s office. Chancellor Davenport and Fulmer spoke of being up front with the fans, but would not even as announce how long Fulmer would be the AD.
So I suppose Fulmer has to land a quality head coach that won’t, or can’t, tell that coach how long he is going to be in charge of the athletics department.
What football coach would sign a contract when he has seen and heard of all the unbelievable goofs that have happened to this point?
Fulmer better call in his chips on current Duke football coach David Cutcliffe, a former offensive coordinator under Fulmer. Cutcliffe’s wife is a Tennessean and worked in the Sports Information department, but I don’t think he will abandon Duke, who gave him his first head coaching job.
There is a pocket of support for former Vols quarterback Tee Martin to be the head coach. Martin is Southern Cal’s offensive coordinator and they just won the Pac-12 championship, beating Stanford, 31-28 this week.
Martin told the ESPN game crew that he was “yet to hear from the Vols.’’
“I’ve heard from everyone in Tennessee, except from Tennessee,’’ he told ESPN’s play by play talent Kevin Winter.
Martin has interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Georgia Southern. GoVols247 reported Friday Martin would be willing to join Tennessee’s staff in a capacity other than Head Coach under certain condition$$$$. It was also reported that Martin has contacted coaches about joining his potential staff with the Vols.
As for Fulmer, who has been a special advisor to the president, was making $100,000 a year. They have bumped it up to $575,000 a year according to GoVols247.
Now it has been reported, Fulmer will also have two universities vehicles, eight skybox tickets in Neyland Stadium. Add a monthly allowance of $2,500, as well as an annual expense allowance of $30,000.
Now, if only Fulmer can hit a home run that can pacify Twitter Nation, all will be Okie-Dokie on Wacky Top.
That’s a BIG IF.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com Sports Columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at email@example.com.