Tennessee's top four all-time best head coaches

#76

MikeVol44

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#76
How do you figure Majors had a higher football IQ than Fulmer? How do you quantify that?
Regarding Fulmer hiring Cut to be his OC, doesn’t that show a pretty high IQ? Of course, Majors had the IQ to hire Fulmer as HIS OC which led to his best 3 year stretch of football during his tenure at Tennessee, so you may have a point.
I confess that it is a subjective measurement.

I quantify it by observing that Majors has taken 2 programs that were at a nadir and developed them into 1) National Champions at Pitt; 2) NC contenders at Tennessee.

Majors took a team of absolute nobodies and won the SEC in '85 at Tennessee....all while losing his starting QB in T. Rob. with Walt Harris at OC and Ken Donahue as DC.

Does anyone here actually believe that the '98 NC team could've won if we would've lost T Martin after the Bama game???

Majors did hire both Cut and Chief.... Fulmer hired spiderman..... slam dunk for Majors....

I like Fulmer a LOT! However, he NEVER had to build a program from nothing into champions.....
Both Majors and Dickey did.

CPF minus David Cutcliffe = disaster for UT football....
 
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#78

vol445

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#78
Fulmer inherited a winner. His two coordinators were hired by Majors.

Kind of hard to compare. Fulmer wouldn’t have been the same without his predecessor.
Your kinda presuming there you don’t know that he wouldn’t have. But that’s just it very few would be in the position if not for their predecessors. Just look at nama before Satan.
 
#79

vol445

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#79
I confess that it is a subjective measurement.

I quantify it by observing that Majors has taken 2 programs that were at a nadir and developed them into 1) National Champions at Pitt; 2) NC contenders at Tennessee.

Majors took a team of absolute nobodies and won the SEC in '85 at Tennessee....all while losing his starting QB in T. Rob. with Walt Harris at OC and Ken Donahue as DC.

Does anyone here actually believe that the '98 NC team could've won if we would've lost T Martin after the Bama game???

Majors did hire both Cut and Chief.... Fulmer hired spiderman..... slam dunk for Majors....

I like Fulmer a LOT! However, he NEVER had to build a program from nothing into champions.....
Both Majors and Dickey did.

It would really take an ignorant person to FAIL to admit that Fulmer minus Cutcliff = disaster.
Only problem I see is if we are saying all spots they coached or just at TN
 
#80

05_never_again

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#80
I confess that it is a subjective measurement.

I quantify it by observing that Majors has taken 2 programs that were at a nadir and developed them into 1) National Champions at Pitt; 2) NC contenders at Tennessee.

Majors took a team of absolute nobodies and won the SEC in '85 at Tennessee....all while losing his starting QB in T. Rob. with Walt Harris at OC and Ken Donahue as DC.
Majors did hire both Cut and Chief....

I like Fulmer a LOT! However, he NEVER had to build a program from nothing into champions.....
Both Majors and Dickey did.

It would really take an ignorant person to FAIL to admit that Fulmer minus Cutcliff = disaster.
Johnny only had one team in 16 years that contended for a title (1989). Phil had 5 (1995-98, 2001). Johnny took a mediocre program, continued the mediocrity for a number of years, then had isolated years later in his tenure (1985, 1987, 1989-90) that were successful. It took him a long time to get Tennessee going, and once he did get Tennessee going there were some stinkers mixed in there (1986, 1988, and the 8 games he coached in 1992 weren't great).

He wasn't as good of a coach as Fulmer was, and IMO the reason he's fondly remembered is because of what he did as a player. His tenure as HC was uneven and kind of frustrating, and honestly if he was coaching in the modern age he never would have made it that long. If it wasn't for the Sugar Vols and the Miracle at South Bend, there wouldn't really be much to remember at all about his tenure.
 
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#81

Backwards K

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#81
The majority of the time Majors only played 6 SEC games and the last 3 every year were Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy. And he didn't sweep those 3 until 1985. Even with an easy conference schedule, Majors never won an undisputed SEC Championship. Also, he had a knack for losing more head scratcher games than any coach in UT history.
 
#82

05_never_again

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#82
The majority of the time Majors only played 6 SEC games and the last 3 every year were Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy. And he didn't sweep those 3 until 1985. Even with an easy conference schedule, Majors never won an undisputed SEC Championship. Also, he had a knack for losing more head scratcher games than any coach in UT history.
Yep. There were head scratching results even within the good seasons, like tying unranked Georgia Tech at home in 1985, losing to unranked Alabama and Boston College(!) in 1987, and losing to unranked Alabama in 1990. It wasn't the greatest season, but the 1981 team had an inexplicable loss to a Kentucky team that finished 3-8. How the team played when he came back from heart surgery in 1992 was kind of baffling as well.

Majors was a game below .500 in conference play (23-24-1) from 1977-84. It was before my time so I don't remember, the I imagine the Sugar Vols year in 1985 came at the perfect time for him because I imagine his seat had to be hot, even in those days. He'd come in from Pitt fresh off a national title and in 8 years at Tennessee was winning half his conference games.
 
#83

MikeVol44

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#83
The majority of the time Majors only played 6 SEC games and the last 3 every year were Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy. And he didn't sweep those 3 until 1985. Even with an easy conference schedule, Majors never won an undisputed SEC Championship. Also, he had a knack for losing more head scratcher games than any coach in UT history.
MEMPHIS says hey!
 
#84

West Vol

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#84
Your kinda presuming there you don’t know that he wouldn’t have. But that’s just it very few would be in the position if not for their predecessors. Just look at nama before Satan.
Hence why I said it was difficult to compare. Fulmer didn’t have a bunch of rebuilding down years to stain his resume.
 
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#85

XknoxvolsX

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#85
But, to those who know the history of Tennessee football, at least from the late 80's to now, Manning came here because of Shuler. I have an old VHS tape somewhere where they were interviewing Cut and he even stated that.

Personally, I've often wondered how the QB guru, Spurrier, wasn't able to pull him.
 
#87

XknoxvolsX

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#87
I confess that it is a subjective measurement.

I quantify it by observing that Majors has taken 2 programs that were at a nadir and developed them into 1) National Champions at Pitt; 2) NC contenders at Tennessee.

Majors took a team of absolute nobodies and won the SEC in '85 at Tennessee....all while losing his starting QB in T. Rob. with Walt Harris at OC and Ken Donahue as DC.

Does anyone here actually believe that the '98 NC team could've won if we would've lost T Martin after the Bama game???

Majors did hire both Cut and Chief.... Fulmer hired spiderman..... slam dunk for Majors....

I like Fulmer a LOT! However, he NEVER had to build a program from nothing into champions.....
Both Majors and Dickey did.

It would really take an ignorant person to FAIL to admit that Fulmer minus Cutcliff = disaster.
These statements are so very true! Because Fulmer never even sniffed another job after this one is very telling. Everyone knew when he said "it has to be the right situation" that meant it had to be an already successful program!
 
#88

vettefool

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#88
Dickey 3, Majors 4. Not really debatable.
Yep, people forget how awful UT was when Dickey arrived. Resurrected the program and in year two we were off and running. I believe he would have won a real natty if he had stayed. Yeah I know the conference wasn’t a strong as now but Bama, Auburn, ole miss and under Vince Dooley ga. Became a force. Fla. and LSU were strong. Hope our current coach can do as well. I’ll give fulmer the credit due for his run. Not sure Dickey wasn’t a better coach. Didnt work out at Fla., don’t understand why.
 
#89

MikeVol44

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#89
Johnny only had one team in 16 years that contended for a title (1989). Phil had 5 (1995-98, 2001). Johnny took a mediocre program, continued the mediocrity for a number of years, then had isolated years later in his tenure (1985, 1987, 1989-90) that were successful. It took him a long time to get Tennessee going, and once he did get Tennessee going there were some stinkers mixed in there (1986, 1988, and the 8 games he coached in 1992 weren't great).

He wasn't as good of a coach as Fulmer was, and IMO the reason he's fondly remembered is because of what he did as a player. His tenure as HC was uneven and kind of frustrating, and honestly if he was coaching in the modern age he never would have made it that long. If it wasn't for the Sugar Vols and the Miracle at South Bend, there wouldn't really be much to remember at all about his tenure.
You're just wrong about Majors winning SEC titles...He won the SEC outright in '85 and '90; tied with Alabama and Auburn in 1989.

As I've posted before, Johnny was only an Elite QB away from some special results in '89 and '90.

You say IF it wasn't for....but that's just it.....HE DID WIN those games.....
Johnny just couldn't get over the BAMA HUMP....

Fulmer certainly has his excellent qualities...I love coach Fulmer!
Fulmer took over an EXCELLENT PROGRAM....got Manning to sign with us (read David Cutcliffe)...but couldn't beat Spurrier's Gators....
And we now know that it was the COMBO of Fulmer/Cutcliffe that led to those impressive results.

But for all of that....Fulmer was only able to win 2 SEC titles....

So...Johnny has a NC and 3 SEC titles....
CPF has a NC and 2 SEC titles....

I say the edge moves slightly in Johnny's favor ON THE FIELD....
 
#90

05_never_again

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#90
You're just wrong about Majors winning SEC titles...He won the SEC outright in '85 and '90; tied with Alabama and Auburn in 1989.

As I've posted before, Johnny was only an Elite QB away from some special results in '89 and '90.

You say IF it wasn't for....but that's just it.....HE DID WIN those games.....
Johnny just couldn't get over the BAMA HUMP....

Fulmer certainly has his excellent qualities...I love coach Fulmer!
Fulmer took over an EXCELLENT PROGRAM....got Manning to sign with us (read David Cutcliffe)...but couldn't beat Spurrier's Gators....
And we now know that it was the COMBO of Fulmer/Cutcliffe that led to those impressive results.

But for all of that....Fulmer was only able to win 2 SEC titles....

So...Johnny has a NC and 3 SEC titles....
CPF has a NC and 2 SEC titles....

I say the edge moves slightly in Johnny's favor ON THE FIELD....
Majors didn't win a NC as a coach at Tennessee. I'm talking performance while at Tennessee.

He started his tenure with 8 fairly mediocre seasons before having a great season in 1985. He won two outright SEC titles (in 1985 and 1990). Fulmer also had 2 SEC titles, a national title, and a better W/L overall. Fulmer was pretty clearly the better coach.
 
#91

willinhf

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#91
Neyland, Majors, Fulmer and Dickey.

Neyland-Automatic
Majors-Build program up for Fulmer, won three SEC championships
Fulmer-Won a natty and two SEC championships, ran the program so far into the ground we are still trying to dig out a decade later
Dickey-Brought the program back to prominence, bolted for Florida but came back to have a highly successful tenure as AD
Disagree on Fulmer running the program into the ground. Hiring Kiffin, Dooley, then Jones ran the program into the ground. The correct hire after Fulmer would have had us right back on top quickly.

Did Fulmer have bad seasons at the end, yes, but he did Not drive the program into the ground. AD, Pres, and outside forces did that to UT football.
 
#92

West Vol

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#92
Disagree on Fulmer running the program into the ground. Hiring Kiffin, Dooley, then Jones ran the program into the ground. The correct hire after Fulmer would have had us right back on top quickly.

Did Fulmer have bad seasons at the end, yes, but he did Not drive the program into the ground. AD, Pres, and outside forces did that to UT football.
Drove into the ground probably isn't the right way to put it. He had us pointed in that direction and the shine was definitely off the program. We weren't considered among the elite anymore. Dooley and Butch sent us deep underground and piled a few tons of dirt on top.
 
#95

djohnnyg

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#95
When we talk about these legendary coaches it makes me all the more skeptical about Pruitt. I hope he wins here...and wins big....but I can't get over his strong Bama connection. I know it's a good problem to have if he is deemed to be the successor to Saban once he retires. I totally get that...but there is just so much Bama I see when I look at him. Of course I'd feel a lot better about him if those last two games of the season didn't happen...but even if we win....I don't like coaches who look at UT as a stepping stone or simply the best job he could get at the time. A chance to build his resume until his dream job opens up. I doubt "Rocky Top" means very little to Pruitt. I don't know that for sure...just the vibe I get from him. Again...this is just my personal take at the present time. Not trying to be a jerk...and Pruitt being so "Alabama-y" is sure not the worst thing you could have as a coach...given the success they have had. I get all that. I just don't get a Tennessee vibe from Pruitt. I like coaches who have a long time personal investment and love for UT...that something "extra". That longtime investment in the University and the football program. Seeing him wearing Bama clothing AFTER he was announced as coach for UT rubbed me the wrong way...although I "get it". He wanted to honor his commitment. Fine. I just don't get a strong Tennessee vibe from him. I also totally understand MANY coaches go to schools they have had no prior investment in and have had success. But Bama and UT? Hey...as long as he wins and gets us back on track to what I feel is our rightful place among the SEC elite...I am all for it.
 
#97

MikeVol44

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#97
Majors didn't win a NC as a coach at Tennessee. I'm talking performance while at Tennessee.

He started his tenure with 8 fairly mediocre seasons before having a great season in 1985. He won two outright SEC titles (in 1985 and 1990). Fulmer also had 2 SEC titles, a national title, and a better W/L overall. Fulmer was pretty clearly the better coach.
Majors started off poorly, but took us to 11-1 and 1 game away from a NC birth...finishing his last 7.5 seasons at 70.3% winning record. Majors had 2 SEC championships outright and 1 shared.
Fulmer started with a program winning 7/10 games and took it (with Cutcliffe) to 83.5% winning and a NC and 2 SEC championships at his peak.
Fulmer's last 9 years reached a nadir of 65% winning record.

You say that makes Fulmer the better coach. Okay.
Once again--let me be clear that I am a FULMER FAN.....

But in the discussion of "who's the better coach of football?"---NO WAY Fulmer wins that just because he has a NC at Tennessee.
Majors has a NC of his own on his resume where he took Pitt from winning 16 games in 7 years to the NC in just 4 years and a 71.7% winning record.
And--Pitt went on to a record of 50-9 (84.7%) in the 4 years after Majors' departure....so Majors' built a program at Pitt to THRIVE--the same thing that he did here.

IMO--MAJORS was the better FB coach with a better FB acumen than Fulmer--------and it ain't even CLOSE!!!

NO, Majors didn't get us a NC....but neither would've CPF without Cutcliffe's signing of Manning.

I know it's just opinion here....but I think Majors' entire body of work as a HC definitely proves he was a better FB coach than CPF.

I'm just glad they're both Tennessee VOLS thru and thru!!

GO VOLS!
 
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#98

willinhf

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#98
Drove into the ground probably isn't the right way to put it. He had us pointed in that direction and the shine was definitely off the program. We weren't considered among the elite anymore. Dooley and Butch sent us deep underground and piled a few tons of dirt on top.
I can agree with the trajectory we were heading in!

👍
 
#99

XknoxvolsX

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#99
Here are some of the things I remember being said about coaches on this message board.......

Kiffin, always talking "When we were at SC....." A large proportion of you clammed that he was going to turn us into USC... Pounced on his recruiting (which he did sign a great class) and ate up all of his antics. Then a lot of you guys began talking that we were going to become USC of the East!

Dooley, most of you guys commented that he was going to succeed because of his parentage. His last name was going to bring in world beater recruits! Actually worried he was going to leave and take over for Richt after his first year (a losing year at that)! And, again after his second year (another losing season). Ya'll went on and on and on about his connection to Saban and being in Saban's coaching tree.

Jones, ya'll talked about how great his legacy classes were and how awesome of a recruiter he was and how he was going to bring us out of the abyss of Kiffin and Dooley just on the talent he was bringing in. A few of the smarter posters on here did mention how he just rode the coat tails of Brian Kelly. Even though I could tell half-way through the '15 season he was not going to get it done here, a lot of you guys said it was the schedule, it was the SEC is so good, just give him time.

And, now, with Pruitt, you guys are already talking that he would leave to take over Bama when Saban retires. This, coming after a losing season and allowing the players to lay down at the end of that losing season! Bama is no more studying Pruitt than Georgia was studying Dooley! SMH
So far, all Pruitt has done is become a successful assistant coach. Again, all ya'll talk about is his tutelage under Saban (reminds me of what a lot of ya'll said about Dooley). There are so many parallels between he and Dooley it's unbelievable!

We are the University of Tennessee. We are not the University of Southern California nor are we the University of Alabama. If you guys want to be USC and/or Bama so bad, and are so worried about their programs and our coaches connections to those programs, you need to jump off this board and become fans of their programs. It's so monotonous to get on here (A TENNESSEE FOOTBALL MESSAGE BOARD) and hear about those other programs.

P.S. Now I understand how all my ex-girlfriends boyfriends feel!
 

Backwards K

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You're just wrong about Majors winning SEC titles...He won the SEC outright in '85 and '90; tied with Alabama and Auburn in 1989.

As I've posted before, Johnny was only an Elite QB away from some special results in '89 and '90.

You say IF it wasn't for....but that's just it.....HE DID WIN those games.....
Johnny just couldn't get over the BAMA HUMP....

Fulmer certainly has his excellent qualities...I love coach Fulmer!
Fulmer took over an EXCELLENT PROGRAM....got Manning to sign with us (read David Cutcliffe)...but couldn't beat Spurrier's Gators....
And we now know that it was the COMBO of Fulmer/Cutcliffe that led to those impressive results.

But for all of that....Fulmer was only able to win 2 SEC titles....

So...Johnny has a NC and 3 SEC titles....
CPF has a NC and 2 SEC titles....

I say the edge moves slightly in Johnny's favor ON THE FIELD....

Facts get in the way of your rant:

--SEC Final standings 1985 show Gators and Vols were both 5-1 and the Gators won the head to head match up. UF was on probation but won on field
--SEC Final standing 1989 show a 3 way tie for first between UT, Bama, and Auburn.
--SEC Final standings 1990 show Gators 6-1, Vols were 5-1-1. Vols beat UF 45-3 but Johnny lost to a mediocre Alabama team in Knoxville by being way too conservative and choked away a huge 4th quarter lead at Auburn by being way trying to run out the clock for entire 4th quarter (typical Majors move).

Johnny claims 3 SEC titles but one was a 3 way tie and the other two are tainted and asterisk championships only.

Fulmer is a first ballot Hall of Fame coach and Johnny's coaching record is not high enough to even qualify him for the HOF. There is no comparison, Fulmer was a much better coach than Johnny. Johnny was pretty good but he should have been fired after his first 3 or 4 seasons and again after the 1988 0-6 start.
 

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