If we believe Majors and a few others who’ve dared to speak up over the years, Fulmer ruthlessly muscled his way into the head coaching role in 1992. It all turned out pretty well, of course, as long as your name wasn’t John Majors. But that breathed an entirely new life into Fulmer, and much later he spent another 10 years muscling his way around behind the scenes of the Tennessee football program until he got what he wanted in 2017. And, this time, it ended in disaster.
Fulmer should’ve been fired for cause, just like Jeremy Pruitt, just like Brian Neidermeyer, and just like the others who were actually breaking the rules. Because everything that happened with Pruitt was a disaster of Fulmer’s making. He didn’t cheat; his intentions may have even been pure. But he created the disaster even if it was only because he sold himself into a job that he was unequipped to perform — even if it was because in his attempt to create a new version of himself as a coach he accidentally created a Frankenstein.
Tennessee football is embroiled in uncertainty today because one man’s ego was bigger than any man’s ego ought to ever be.