Ever since Mike Hamilton fired Phil Fulmer, the Tennessee athletic department has come undone.
With yesterday's coaching search debacle, the question has to be asked, why not bring back Phil Fulmer, pair him with current LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis and USC assistant Tee Martin, and go back to the future in Vol athletics?
Yep, the Bill Snyder model.
Snyder's story is well known now, but for those who need a refresher he stepped down in 2005 after going 5-6. Fulmer's final year was 2008 when he went 5-7. In fact, Snyder's final several years at Kansas State were worse than Fulmer's at Tennessee. In his final five years at Tennessee Fulmer went 39-25. In his final five years at Kansas State Bill Snyder went 37-25.
In both men's final two years, Fulmer was 15-11 while Snyder was 9-13
Hell, Fulmer was in the SEC east title game eleven months before UT fired him. He was eight fourth quarter minutes away from upsetting eventual national champion LSU when Erik Ainge threw a pick six.
Snyder was replaced by Ron Prince, who ran up a 17-20 record in three seasons. Fulmer was replaced by a combination of Lane Kiffin for a year and Derek Dooley for three years, the combined record of those men over four years, 22-27, nearly identical .45 winning percentages.
These situations are astoundingly similar.
Except Fulmer is still a decade younger than Snyder and has a better career coaching record at his school than Snyder does.
Hell, at 62, Fulmer is just one year older than Nick Saban.
Plus, if you hired Fulmer I've been told by very reliable sources that John Chavis would come back to join him and he'd surround himself with younger former players like Tee Martin and Jay Graham. If you're worried about the offensive side of the ball you could either keep Jim Chaney in place or you could go hire a young gunner like Kliff Kingsbury and give him a title of coach-in-waiting for as long as Fulmer takes to stabilize the program. Fulmer went 152-52 over his tenure at Tennessee and his defensive coordinator John Chavis has established himself as the best defensive mind in the SEC since Fulmer left.
So you'd have zero concerns about the defense and Fulmer would be affordable enough to hire a really good offensive coordinator.
Plus, Fulmer's rehiring would make an awful lot of former Tennessee players happy. These Vol players have never gotten over the shabby way they felt Fulmer was shown the door.
Would it really shock people if Fulmer won big again at UT? And would he even have to win big again to stabilize the program? If Fulmer won eight games in 2013, wouldn't Vol fans be ecstatic? How quickly things change. In the final days of the Fulmer regime fans were up in arms over the idea that he got an automatic contract extension with eight wins. Four years later the Dool-Aid drinkers were ready to put up a statue to Derek Dooley if he won eight games in 2012.
Bill Snyder has proven that you can go back to the future again, with the staff he can put together and his own resume Fulmer is even less of a risk than Snyder was. Much less of a risk, in fact, than many of the unproven coaches that are now on Tennessee's list to replace Derek Dooley.
Five of his final 11 years the Vols won the SEC east.
Do you feel like these guys below will do better than that?
Y'all will want a list so here's my new list of seven names for you :