Tennessee football coaches

#1

hmanvolfan

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#1
Here is an off season topic to explore: has Tennessee had a top notch football coach since General Neyland was on the field? Anybody on the level that Coach Summitt was for women’s basketball?
 
#2

chatt-townVOL

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#2
I mean Fulmer was pretty dang good.

You have to remember that 20 years ago recruiting was more limited to your back yard. You didn’t have a Bama/Clemson type situation where two teams were clearly on top for 5 years+, the landscape was much more even.

Always being in the Top 10, winning the natty, that symbolized being on top before modern day recruiting. With all the recruitment sites and satellite camps and whatnot today, the 5* in Washington is up for grabs for Bama if they want him. 20 years ago they wouldn’t have even heard of him, hence the dynasty effect we have today.
 
#3

hmanvolfan

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#3
So the recruiting field was pretty level, right? With Neyland Stadium, being in the SEC and tradition should the Big Orange have achieved more SEC and National titles since the General was here? Did Fulmer and other coaches get high powered recruits and when they did were they coached to their best potential?
 
#4

CornFlake

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#4
So the recruiting field was pretty level, right? With Neyland Stadium, being in the SEC and tradition should the Big Orange have achieved more SEC and National titles since the General was here? Did Fulmer and other coaches get high powered recruits and when they did were they coached to their best potential?
to much sun with no water is not a good thing.
 
#7

Vol423

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#7
I mean Fulmer was pretty dang good.

You have to remember that 20 years ago recruiting was more limited to your back yard. You didn’t have a Bama/Clemson type situation where two teams were clearly on top for 5 years+, the landscape was much more even.

Always being in the Top 10, winning the natty, that symbolized being on top before modern day recruiting. With all the recruitment sites and satellite camps and whatnot today, the 5* in Washington is up for grabs for Bama if they want him. 20 years ago they wouldn’t have even heard of him, hence the dynasty effect we have today.
Spurrier whipped Fulmer like a rented mule during his stint at Florida. Also, while the SEC was clearly the best conference in football, it was nowhere near as tough of a conference then as it is now.
 
#8

BigOrangeVols

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#8
Spurrier whipped Fulmer like a rented mule during his stint at Florida. Also, while the SEC was clearly the best conference in football, it was nowhere near as tough of a conference then as it is now.
It was very top heavy a few years ago, but this year and for the foreseeable future, teams like Georgia, LSU, A&M are going to be powerhouses as well. Even some of the mid level teams in the SEC will be top 25. Going to be really tough in the SEC for the next few years.
 
#10

PhoenixAZVol

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#10
To answer the OP’s question - no, we have never had another coach as dominating as Neyland or Summit. I think those two were the only great/elite coaches we have had. I would say that Fulmer and Dickey were very good coaches but not great. Majors was a good coach but not quite very good. I think you have to win multiple Nattys to be great and have a long tenure of dominance. I don’t know enough about track snd field, tennis, swimming etc to know if they ever had a great coach.
 
#11

Backwards K

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#11
Phil Fulmer is a first ballot Hall of Fame coach who had a record of 152-52 and won a National title. He put together the greatest staff in UT history and had the respect of his players and everyone in the coaching fraternity. He did have a couple of bad years much like Neyland had in the late 40s and a weak AD listened to the negative idiots and fired him. How's that worked out for you?

Doug Dickey built the Tennessee program up to be the best program in the SEC even in the middle of the Paul Bryant era at Alabama. If Dickey had stayed at UT, the Vols were on their way to dominating the 70s. Instead, the UT AD (Woodruff) in a move that only Mike Hamilton would have been proud of, hired a 28 year old position coach who openly talked of his disdain of recruiting......and it showed as soon as Dickey's recruits graduated.

That's 2 pretty good examples of coaches who were well respected and successful in NCAA football. But, to your original point, Neyland is in the conversation of the greatest coach in NCAA history. Half of his games (not wins, games) ended with his defense pitching a shutout.

Only a handful of programs have ever had a coach with the success Neyland had. Not to mention, during the height of his success, Neyland had to go to northern Africa and defeat the Nazis in that part of the world. No other NCAA program has a coach who was undefeated against the Nazis as a General.
 
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#13

Backwards K

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#13
Spurrier whipped Fulmer like a rented mule during his stint at Florida. Also, while the SEC was clearly the best conference in football, it was nowhere near as tough of a conference then as it is now.
Fulmer made Spurrier and cry and quit. In 2001, the Gators were on their way to the National Championship game and the game vs UT in Gainesville in December was touted as the biggest game in Florida Field history. The Gators were 2 TD favorites and the Vols physically whipped them and won. Spurrier was so heartbroken, he quit and went on to be a failure in the NFL before he quit and returned to the SEC and became a mediocre coach at South Carolina where he later quit again a week or so before he was to come to Knoxville and take another beating from Butch Jones.
 
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#14

lynnh

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#14
With some of players that played in 90's, Vols had talent top to bottom they played hard looked prepared most games, I don't think Spurrier dominated
 
#15

lynnh

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#15
Fulmer made Spurrier and cry and quit. In 2001, the Gators were on their way to the National Championship game and the game vs UT in Gainesville in December was touted as the biggest game in Florida Field history. The Gators were 2 TD favorites and the Vols physically whipped them and won. Spurrier was so heartbroken, he quit and went on to be a failure in the NFL before he quit and returned to the SEC and became a mediocre coach at South Carolina where he later quit again a week or so he was to come to Knoxville and take another beating from Butch Jones.
This SPOT ON TRUTH "The Old Ball Coach" so butt hurt by that azz whipping 2001 he took his game to NFL I watched his 1st preseason GAME he won TV showed him on sideline like he won Super BOWL ,if you listened to Spurrier he never lost a game his team was beaten a lot games 1 Natty Spurrier 1 Natty Fulmer , I don't'see a rented MULE, Fulmer didn't engage in trash talk he had more class .............GO VOLS
 
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#16

VFL-82-JP

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#16
Each of us will have our own definitions for nebulous terms like "great" and "elite." To keep this thread from devolving into a semantics slog, we'll have to be aware of and allow for those perspectives.

For me, Neyland and Summit stand alone in their respective fields among the pantheon of Volunteer coaches. Fulmer is only a rung or two below them, and deserves far more credit than some in the fan base are willing to give. He took a good program and cranked it up a notch to national contention. It's too early to know for sure, but indications are that Rick Barnes may be approaching Fulmer's grade; he's also a very good coach.

Almost none of us living today remember them, but some of Neyland's assistants and fill-ins while he was soldiering deserve mention at or near this tier, as well. John Barnhill in particular. He was to Neyland football what we all hoped Holly could be to Summitt basketball: the heir apparent who could mostly keep things at that same elite level. I'd put him third in Vols football, after the General and Fulmer.

After that, it's really a lot of good to very good coaches who never quite got us there (Majors) or left too soon to become legends (Dickey).

So, yep. Neyland and Summitt at the pinnacle, Fulmer, Barnhill, and maybe Barnes just one or two rungs down. Then everyone else.

That's how I see it, anyway.
 
#17

FlyFishnVol

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#17
Spurrier whipped Fulmer like a rented mule during his stint at Florida. Also, while the SEC was clearly the best conference in football, it was nowhere near as tough of a conference then as it is now.
Except for 1998, I disagree on all counts, you can't compare how "tough" a conference was because everything was relative. The 90s was a huge transformation for College Football, probably the most entertaining decade of College football, and the beginning of the end of that type of football, to me, College Football has become stale as a dry piece of toast compared to the 90s.
 
#19

WoodsmanVol

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#19
Spurrier whipped Fulmer like a rented mule during his stint at Florida. Also, while the SEC was clearly the best conference in football, it was nowhere near as tough of a conference then as it is now.
Cause Fulmer somewhat like Bowden refused to adapt. That's why Spurrier said, "Tennessee will always be Tennessee." We had the tools to match Spurrier's fun -n- gun offense but never really applied them on the scale Steve did.
 
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#20

Tin Man

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#20
Ray Mears gave Tennessee a competitive men's basketball program. During his tenure, Tennessee roundballers were 15-15 against might Kentucky (over the same stretch, KY won 75% of their games). Mears' Vol teams won three SEC championships and were invited to the NCAA Tournament three times. He recruited Ernie Grundfeld and Bernard King. He brought the POTS pep band into the basketball arena and coined the term, "This is Big Orange Country!" The expansion of the Armory-Fieldhouse into the Stokely Athletic Center was directly in response to Mears' success. God bless you, Ray. Thank you for all that you've done for Tennessee athletics.
 
#23

Shilohfan

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#23
Phil Fulmer is a first time Hall of Fame coach who had a record of 152-52 and won a National title. He put together the greatest staff in UT history and had the respect of his players and everyone in the coaching fraternity. He did have a couple of bad years much like Neyland had in the late 40s and a weak AD listened to the negative idiots and fired him. How's that worked out for you?

Doug Dickey built the Tennessee program up to be the best program in the SEC even in the middle of the Paul Bryant era at Alabama. If Dickey had stayed at UT, the Vols were on their way to dominating the 70s. Instead, the UT AD (Woodruff) in a move that only Mike Hamilton would have been proud of, hired a 28 year old position coach who openly talked of his disdain of recruiting......and it showed as soon as Dickey's recruits graduated.

That's 2 pretty good examples of coaches who were well respected and successful in NCAA football. But, to your original point, Neyland is in the conversation of the greatest coach in NCAA history. Half of his games (not wins, games) ended with his defense pitching a shutout.

Only a handful of programs have ever had a coach with the success Neyland had. Not to mention, during the height of his success, Neyland had to go to northern Africa and defeat the Nazis in that part of the world. No other NCAA program has a coach who was undefeated against the Nazis as a General.
I think the General's greatest contribution in WW 2 was his being assigned to the supply base snafu that was Calcutta, India and turning it completely around and consequently making the defeat of the Japanese in that theater happen.
 
#24

KBVol

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#24
Here is an off season topic to explore: has Tennessee had a top notch football coach since General Neyland was on the field? Anybody on the level that Coach Summitt was for women’s basketball?
Are you saying that since we haven’t had the football equivalent of arguably the greatest women’s b-ball coach in history, that we haven’t had any top notch football coaches in 65-70 years? I don’t get the scale of this question at all, but I’ll answer it......Barnhill, Wyatt,Dickey, Majors and Fulmer were all top-notch coaches imo. Those guys were a combined 395-183-18 with multiple SEC COY awards, SEC titles and a couple national titles. I’m not sure of your definition of “top-notch”, but I’m thinking each of those guys were, even if they didn’t win 80+% of their games and 7-8 national titles each.
 

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