May 15, 2012
Phillip Fulmer is the newest member of the Tennessee Volunteers family to reach the College Football Hall of Fame. He was named to the 2012 class during a Tuesday ceremony in New York City by the National Football Foundation and becomes the 22nd former UT player or coach to earn enshrinement. Fulmer is the first Vol gaining entry into the College Football Hall of Fame since offensive guard Chip Kell in 2006.
Fulmer led the Vols to the very first BCS National Championship after the 1998 season, finishing 13-0 with a 23-16 victory over Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl. The 1997 and 1998 Vols remain the last teams to repeat as SEC champions, and Fulmer coached Tennessee to seven SEC Eastern Division titles in 16 seasons.
"I am honored to be joining such an elite group of coaches selected to The National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame," said Fulmer. "There are so many people to thank , but it must start with my wife Vicky and my children. It was never a job for us, but very much a lifestyle. They certainly sacrificed a lot for me to live my passion."
"I am grateful to my wonderful staff who worked so hard and stayed so loyal to UT for many years. They did their jobs well, and were great mentors and examples for our young men.
"I am proud of the many outstanding young men that played for us. They trusted us to come to Tennessee, worked really hard for us, and were rewarded with the best era in modern Tennessee football. There are hundreds of special relationships that will be there forever.
"I appreciate so much Joe Johnson and Doug Dickey, who gave me the opportunity and guided and supported me so well thru the years.
"There are countless loyal Tennessee fans, wonderful friends and administrators, who helped us when we needed help to build and maintain our program. I am certainly proud of our record, but I am just as proud of how we accomplished or goals."
Fulmer's won-lost record of 152-52 figures to a .744 winning percentage, and he left UT as the winningest coach in major college football with at least 10 years' experience. Joining Nebraska's Tom Osborne as the only two coaches to lead a team to a bowl game in each of their first 13 years of coaching, Fulmer led the Vols to a 98-41 record during his final 11 seasons, including four conference title games and one SEC championship, the 1998 BCS Championship, and eight January bowls.
Tennessee's four-year stretch from 1995-98 under Fulmer was one of the best in college football history - a 45-5 record from 1995-98 that culminated in the BCS title game win. For his efforts in that 1998 season, Fulmer was a near-unanimous pick as national coach of the year.
Fulmer led the Vols to 10 or more wins nine times and finished his career 44-37 against ranked teams. Tennessee won six consecutive overtime games from 2002-07, and the Vols became masters of the come-from-behind method of victory, rallying from 18 down against Arkansas in 1998, 21 at Kentucky in 2001, 24 at Notre Dame in 1991 (when Fulmer was offensive coordinator), 17 at Georgia in 2006 and 15 to Vanderbilt in the fourth quarter of 2007 with a trip to the SEC Championship Game on the line.
Fulmer went 11-5 against his biggest rival, Alabama, and led the Vols to the SEC title game five times. Tennessee won two of those nail-biters and lost three heartbreakers, but over the final decade of Fulmer's coaching career, UT never went more than three years without taking a team to Atlanta.
Induction for this year's hall of fame takes place Dec. 4 at the 55th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York's historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Tennessee Vols already in the College Football Hall of Fame (and their induction years) are Gene McEver (1954), Beattie Feathers (1955), Gen. Robert R. Neyland (1956), Herman Hickman (1959), Bobby Dodd (player, 1959), Bob Suffridge (1961), Nathan Dougherty (1967), George Cafego (1969), Bowden Wyatt (player, 1972; coach 1997), Hank Lauricella (1981), Doug Atkins (1985), Johnny Majors (1987), Bob Johnson (1989), Ed Molinski (1990), Steve DeLong (1993), John Michels (1996), Steve Kiner (1999), Reggie White (2002), Doug Dickey (2003), Frank Emanuel (2004) and Chip Kell (2006).
Here is the official class from the National Football Foundation:
From the national ballot of 76 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning,
chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of
Fame, announced today the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football
Bowl Subdivision Class, which includes the names of 14 First Team
All-America players and three legendary coaches.
2012 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASSPLAYERS
- CHARLES ALEXANDER - TB, LSU (1975-78)
- OTIS ARMSTRONG - HB, Purdue (1970-72)
- STEVE BARTKOWSKI - QB, California (1972-74)
- HAL BEDSOLE - SE, Southern California (1961-63)
- DAVE CASPER - TE, Notre Dame (1971-73)
- TY DETMER - QB, BYU (1988-91)
- TOMMY KRAMER - QB, Rice (1973-76)
- ART MONK - WR, Syracuse (1976-79)
- GREG MYERS - DB, Colorado State (1992-95)
- JONATHAN OGDEN - OT, UCLA (1992-95)
- GABE RIVERA - DT, Texas Tech (1979-82)
- MARK SIMONEAU - LB, Kansas State (1996-99)
- SCOTT THOMAS - S, Air Force (1982-85)
- JOHN WOOTEN* - OG, Colorado (1956-58)
* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee
- Phillip Fulmer - 152-52-0 (74.5%); Tennessee (1992-08)
- JIMMY JOHNSON - 81-34-3 (70.0%); Oklahoma State (1979-83) and Miami (Fla.) (1984-88)
- R.C. SLOCUM - 123-47-2 (72.1%); Texas A&M (1989-02)
"We are extremely proud to announce the 2012 College Football Hall of
Fame Class," said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from
Ole Miss. "Each year the selection process becomes increasingly more
difficult, but Gene Corrigan and the Honors Court do an amazing
job of selecting a diverse group of the most amazing players and coaches
in our sport's rich history. This class is certainly no exception, and
we look forward to honoring them and celebrating their achievements
throughout the year ahead."
The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 4, 2012, at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2013 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2013.
Today's announcement was made from The NASDAQ OMX MarketSite in Times Square, which has hosted the event for the past four consecutive years. XOS Digital produced the NFF web streams for the second consecutive year, and the Orange Bowl and the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP participated as the supporting sponsors of the announcement.
Honored to say I played for a Hall of Famer. Congrats Coach Fulmer. #VFL-- Jacques McClendon (@jmcc65) May 15, 2012
Hall Of Famer= Phillip Fulmer! HE WAS AND STILL IS A BEAST, point blank period! Well deserved Coach, thanks for giving me an opportunity!-- Inky Johnson (@InkyJohnson) May 15, 2012
Congrats to Coach Fulmer, for making it to the college hall of fame. Much love fam-- Montario Hardesty (@MoHard20) May 15, 2012
Not many people truly understand the hard work & sacrifices coaches have to make in order to be successful! Great day for the Fulmer family!-- Allison Fulmer (@allifulmer) May 15, 2012
Congrats to Coach Fulmer for making the HOF..Now I can always say I played for a HOF coach.-- L. Little (@DBLL01) May 15, 2012