My Memory Of Fulmer
Posted by Joel on November 3, 2008
So Fulmer is gone. Wow. This is the breakup that you knew would happen, but when it does happen you are still shocked. Watching the press conference, I saw a man with a fire and passion still for Tennessee football, but was also sad that his time was gone. Seeing him tear up was touching, although a $6 million buyout along with his legendary status in the state & Vol fans nationwide will dry his tears.
I wanna travel back in time and share a memory that I had of Coach Fulmer. I went to Knoxville in the spring of 1997. I had a childhood friend that was getting scholarship offers from a ton of schools, including Tennessee. Since I was in college in Nashville, I agreed to meet my friend in Knoxville. You know, like I really needed an excuse to go to Knoxville. Anyway, we go there with his mom and stepdad & tour the campus then meet with the football staff. After catching a shuttle to Neyland, we meet some of the players there along with Coach Fulmer.
A lot has been said about his weight. I can’t think of another coach that has been photoshopped with love (and hatred) than Coach Fulmer. With that said, meeting him I could see that he generally doesn’t skip a meal with plenty of carbs and sugar. In other words, he’s a big guy. But when meeting him, he was gentle. I can remember Fulmer telling my buddy & I to meet him in the tunnel, along with some of the other recruits. I can remember him giving us a pep talk then telling us “Will you give your all for Tennessee today?!?!” Of course we said yes and ran out of the tunnel like we were about to line up. He made me feel like I was actually a player, even though I was far from it.
A few years later, I visited my friend & two of his linemen buddies in their apartment. They had to go to study hall on Sunday & as we get on campus, we see Fulmer pull up. After speaking, he tells me that someone on his staff needs to be fired to have a skinny runt on his team. I shoot back that they recruited me so I could be his personal Krispy Kreme guy. He laughs, puts his massive hands on my shoulder, and says “Well if that is the case, your hands are empty & you’re fired”. He was a good sport about things.
Whatever happens, I will always remember Coach Fulmer for a lot of things, but these are my two favorite memories of the man. Work like heck.
Big John Henderson is scary…