Fulmer to get Neyland Award
UT Coach Phillip Fulmer

Posted Apr 15, 2009


Former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer has been named the recipient of the 2009 General Robert R. Neyland Trophy, presented each year by the Knoxville Quarterback Club.

The Trophy, first awarded in 1967, is named in honor of Hall of Fame and legendary head coach General Robert R. Neyland, who led the Vols from 1926-52. The presentation will be made at The East Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame awards brunch, set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at The Foundry in Knoxville. Fulmer will also be honored on the field in pregame ceremonies before the annual Orange and White Game.

Fulmer, the 44th winner of the Trophy, coached teams that claimed a national championship, two conference titles and seven divisional crowns while winning nearly 75 percent of their games in 17 seasons he was head coach at the University of Tennessee. He left Tennessee ranked atop the winning percentage list for active coaches with at least 10 years experience in major college football.

Yet Fulmer's most cherished role centered around the teaching and guidance of young student-athletes. He built Tennessee football on a platform of "Family First" -- something UT players and coaches say is this program's greatest attribute.

And while his on-field accomplishments-- claiming 10 wins nine times in 16 full seasons--have obvious allure, it's the personal relationships that register most sincerely for Tennessee's native son.

The Volunteers under Fulmer posted 152 triumphs against only 52 defeats for a winning percentage of .744. At the conclusion of his final season, no active coach with at least a decade in Division I-A had such a lofty victory rate.

In his final 10 seasons, Fulmer led the Vols to a 98-41 mark and played in three conference title games along with five New Year?s Day bowls.

The hallmarks of his early years on Rocky Top included him joining former Nebraska legend Tom Osborne as the only coaches to lead a team to a bowl game in their first 13 years of coaching and, of course, the 1998 BCS National Championship. That season, Fulmer guided Tennessee to its sixth national championship with a perfect 13-0 record and a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory over Florida State. In the 17 seasons Fulmer was leading the UT program, more than 10 million fans passed through the Neyland Stadium turnstiles, helping to solidify the building's reputation as one of the true cathedrals of college football.

One of the accepted measures of a program's success is position in the national polls. This, too, was a testimonial to Fulmer's sure hand at the helm. Under Fulmer, the Vols had a streak of 54 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 and were ranked in the national polls at game time for 169 of Fulmer's 204 games as head coach. Tennessee also didn't back down from ranked competition during the Fulmer years, posting a 44-37 record against ranked teams during his tenure.

The former Vols offensive lineman served 13 years as a Vols assistant beginning in 1980 before becoming the 20th head football coach at Tennessee. The decision to elevate Fulmer occurred five seasons after he was appointed assistant head coach and three seasons after he became offensive coordinator. Fulmer arrived at Tennessee after one year at Vanderbilt and five at Wichita State. His coaching career began at Tennessee, where he served as a student assistant in 1972 and 1973 after finishing his playing career in 1971.

Fulmer is the national spokesperson for the Jason Foundation Inc., and considers such experiences essential to the education process young athletes. He recently was named the first recipient of the "Grant Teaff Breaking the Silence Award," presented jointly by the AFCA and the Jason Foundation.

He also has served on such boards of directors as Boys and Girls Clubs, American Football Coaches Association, Team Focus and Child and Family Services. Fulmer is married to the former Vicky Morey and has four children: Phillip Jr., Courtney, Brittany and Allison.

History of the Gen. Robert R. Neyland Trophy In 1967, the Knoxville Quarterback Club, seeking a way to honor Gen. Neyland?s memory, established the Robert R. Neyland Memorial Trophy. This award is given annually by the Club to an outstanding man who has contributed greatly to intercollegiate athletics. The first presentation in 1967 included the man who hired Gen. Neyland in 1926 and his first All-America lineman, who later became head coach at Yale. The permanent trophy is displayed in the Tennessee Hall of Fame Exhibit in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on the University of Tennessee campus. Previous Honorees

1967 - Nathan W. Dougherty, Tennessee

1967 - Herman Hickman, Yale

1968 - Wallace Wade, Alabama

1969 - Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech

1970 - John Barnhill, Arkansas

1971 - Jess Neely, Rice

1972 - John Vaught, Mississippi

1973 - Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma

1974 - Fritz Crisler, Michigan

1975 - Lynn 'Pappy' Waldorf, California

1976 - John McKay, Southern California

1977 - Darrell Royal, Texas

1978 - Ralph 'Shug' Jordan, Auburn

1979 - Frank Broyles, Arkansas

1980 - Bob Devaney, Nebraska

1981 - Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame

1982 - Bill Murray, Duke

1983 - Paul 'Bear' Bryant, Alabama

1984 - Woody Hayes, Ohio State

1985 - Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State

1986 - Bob Woodruff, Tennessee

1987 - Charles McClendon, LSU

1988 - LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young

1989 - Vince Dooley, Georgia

1990 - Bo Schembechler, Michigan

1991 - Murray Warmath, Minnesota

1992 - Bobby Bowden, Florida State

1993 - Grant Teaff, Baylor

1994 - Jerry Claiborne, Kentucky

1995 - Dan Devine, Notre Dame

1996 - Hayden Fry, Iowa

1997 - Terry Donahue, UCLA

1998 - Lou Holtz, Notre Dame

1999 - Eddie Robinson, Grambling

2000 - Tom Osborne, Nebraska

2001 - Doug Dickey, Tennessee

2002 - Gene Stallings, Alabama

2003 - John Majors, Pittsburgh

2004 - John Gaglidardi, St. John's (Minn.)

2005 - Barry Switzer, Oklahoma

2006 - John Cooper, Ohio State

2007 - John Robinson, UNLV

2008 - Lloyd Carr, Michigan

2009 - Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee



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