Longtime coach Phillip Fulmer returns to Tennessee in advisor role

Phillip Fulmer was Tennessee’s head coach from 1992-08. (AP)

Phillip Fulmer will return to the University of Tennessee after all.

The former Vols head coach was reportedly a candidate for UT’s athletic director position back in January, but that went to John Currie, formerly of Kansas State. Instead, UT president Joe DiPietro announced Tuesday that Fulmer has been hired as his special advisor for community, athletics and university relations.

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“This is a special opportunity for me. I’ve had the chance to work with Dr. DiPietro for a couple of years in a volunteer capacity, and I was excited when he approached me with this position,” Fulmer said. “I look forward to serving UT campuses statewide, our communities, and UT athletics for the greater good for our great state and the university.”

In this role, Fulmer “will serve as an ambassador for the University system at community and athletics events, support the intercollegiate athletic programs at UT campuses in Knoxville Chattanooga and Martin, and work with UT government relations and alumni affairs leadership to advocate for the statewide system with elected officials and UT alumni.”

“Phillip has been a tremendous asset to the University of Tennessee both on and off the field for more than 40 years,” DiPietro said. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with him on the UT President’s Council, and I look forward to working with him in a broader sense to advocate for the University with our key stakeholders.”

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Added Currie: “As a native Tennessean who has given his all for the Vols throughout his life, both as a student-athlete on the field and during a Hall of Fame coaching career leading our program to its most dominant and successful era in modern history, Coach Fulmer is a perfect ambassador for our University and athletics program. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed numerous visits with Coach Fulmer since I returned to Knoxville, and I am honored to work with him in support of President DiPietro and Chancellor Davenport as we serve the University of Tennessee, our students and student-athletes.”

Fulmer served as Tennessee’s head coach for 17 seasons and won two SEC championships and the national title in 1998. The 66-year-old is a Tennessee graduate who played offensive line for the Vols. He was an assistant from 1980 to 1992 before landing the head-coaching gig. He had a 152-52 record at Tennessee, but was forced out in 2008 after a 5-7 season.

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Fulmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

For more Tennessee news, visit VolQuest.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!