David Cutcliffe praises Phillip Fulmer's leadership, says Tennessee should 'hang on to him as long as they can'
Considering the success David Cutcliffe has achieved during his head coaching career at Ole Miss and Duke, it’s clear the man knows what it takes to lead a program to new heights on the field. It should come as no surprise then that he credits some of his success to the teachings he learned working for Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee.
Before Cutcliffe ever got the chance to lead his own program, he served as an assistant on Rocky Top. During that time, the Vols reached heights not experienced since the days General Neyland roamed the sidelines in Knoxville. He may have left the program before coaching in Tennessee’s BCS National Championship Game but there’s no way the Vols ever make that game without the contributions Cutcliffe made to the program.
Now at Duke, leading the program to its best era since Steve Spurrier coached in Durham, Cutcliffe’s hasn’t forgotten the man that taught him about building up a program.
During his recent appearance at ACC Media Days, Cutcliffe was asked to share his thoughts on Fulmer and the job he will do at Tennessee as the school’s athletic director.
“Phillip is a great organizer. He has the ability to emphasize things and then make them happen,” Cutcliffe recently said in a video shared by Marc Whiteman of WATE ABC 6 TV in Knoxville. “When he took the job over as a head coach, I told him tonight, ‘I’ll never forget you’re saying that we’re going to go to another level,’ but he talked about how to do it. So Philip is a doer and when he’s going to be in charge of Tennessee athletics, you’re going to see things move forward. They better try to hang on to him as long as they can. That would be my advice.”
Considering the source, Tennessee would be wise to listen. Since taking over at Tennessee during a tremulous period, Fulmer has hired Jeremy Pruitt and kept Rick Barnes from leaving for UCLA. Improving the football program and keeping the basketball program at the top of the SEC will always be top priorities for Fulmer on Rocky Top, and so far, Cutcliffe appears to be dead-on when it comes to his analysis of Tennessee’s AD.