Posted by Chip Patterson
Yesterday, reports began to surface that former Tennessee head coach and current CBS College Sports analyst Phillip Fulmer had emerged as a candidate for the open coaching position at the University of Minnesota. Initially, there was some speculation as to the probability of Fulmer being enticed by the position. After all, names such as Tony Dungy, Mike Leach, Scott Linehan, and Marc Trestman (the hometown favorite), have all come up in reports since Tim Brewster's firing in mid-October.
Also, as Tom Fornelli pointed out, there is doubt that Fulmer, 60, would want to take on the task of rebuilding a program that has not seen overwhelming success in quite some time. But after seeing his interest in the Louisville job, eventually given to Charlie Strong, it is fair to assume that Fulmer is most interested in coaching, less so where. When asked by the Knoxville News Sentinel about any possible contact with Minnesota, Fulmer was non-committal, though he did offer some kind words about the program.
“Minnesota has great potential, and with its new facilities it’s a place you could recruit to,’’ Fulmer told the News Sentinel on Tuesday night. “I believe it’s a place where you can compete.’’
COMPETE. There is that operative word for a program that has not won a conference title since 1967. Fulmer would bring an awfully impressive resume to Minneapolis, particularly 13 nationally ranked finishes in his 17 years of head coaching. While athletic director Joe Maturi said that he preferred the next candidate "get" Minnesota, other sources have indicated that a "Tubby Smith-type hire" may be probable to fill Brewster's position. While Fulmer spent nearly all of his coaching career with the Volunteers, he is a seasoned and respected in the national scene. His pedigree would elevate the program's status almost immediately, the challenge would be utilizing that status to produce winning seasons.