Four years ago, Tennessee asked Phillip Fulmer to leave. Saturday the University of Tennessee not only welcomes back the former football coach, it plans to honor him.
Prior to the Vols' game against top-ranked Alabama, Fulmer will be recognized for his upcoming induction into National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, which will take place in December.
More than 40 members of the 1997 Southeastern Conference championship team, which went 11-2 and reached the Orange Bowl, will join him. All will be honored in the same pregame ceremony before the 6:05 p.m. kickoff (ESPN).
Taking an advantage of a bye week for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who was named the SEC Player of the Year in 1997, is also expected at Neyland Stadium.
In 16 years as UT’s head coach, Fulmer went 152-52, led the Vols to a national championship in 1998 — the sixth in school history — and won two SEC titles (1997-98). He was fired in 2008 after Tennessee went 5-7, failing to make a bowl, and suffering its fourth straight season with at least four losses.
He is the 22nd former UT player or coach to be inducted into the hall of fame. He joins General Robert R. Neyland, Bowden Wyatt and Doug Dickey as the only Vol coaches to be enshrined.