Exit lane: movers, shakers reluctant to discuss UT coach's departure

By: Gordon Boyd Email
By: Gordon Boyd Email

Vol Football's rumor mill has been gathering steam even as the
Lane Kiffin train was jumping the tracks.

ESPN.com may have floated the biggest trial balloon yet; that several unnamed University of Tennessee Trustees are recruiting former head coach Phillip Fulmer to return to the Volunteers as Men's Athletics Director, a position that, as of yet, isn't vacant.

Coach Fulmer hasn't commented publicly, either to confirm or
refute such talk.

Trustee Robert Talbott has declined comment, saying he can't speak for his fellow Board members.

Trustee Doug Horne, through his secretary, says he doesn't know enough to weigh in yet.

Trustee Charlie Anderson hasn't returned phone calls.

UT's interim President Dr. Jan Simek has spent Wednesday in Nashville, as lawmakers hash out the budget for higher education.

Via written statement, Dr. Simek says that Men's Athletic Director Mike Hamilotn remains " in charge of the process to address immediate needs and hire a new head football coach."

UT administrators and Trustees, Dr. Simek adds, "will be engaged in that process at the right times and places," presumably as Hamilton vets candidates and prepares to make an offer.

"Vols athletic programs bring enormous visibility to the University," Dr. Simek writes, "and it is critically important that visibility reflects the integrity and character the University seeks to develop in student-athletes as well as the entire student population."

Pilot Oil founder Jim Haslam, a former player, and major benefactor for the University and its athletics programs, has declined to comment publicly, saying "it would be totally inappopriate to speculate on a decision that needs to be left to Mike Hamilton and to those directly connected to the University."


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