With Mike Hamilton out the door, Tennessee is undergoing a search for a new men's athletics director. It's a great job at a great school, and plenty of qualified candidates are out there. Despite the large number of expensive buyouts going out recently, UT will be able to pay enough to get someone top notch.
A familiar name has circulated the online discussion: Phillip Fulmer. Privately, it appears that he's told folks he'd want the job. He's even picked up an endorsement from Charlie Daniels. Until this evening, he hadn't said anything publicly about the opening. ESPN.com got him to break his silence:
"We'll see what the feelings are of the people there at the university and the decision-makers, and that's simply where we are right now. I'm not politicking for the job, and I don't need a job. But if I can help my university, I'm interested in doing that any way I can."
Fulmer is a Tennessee lifer, and he would fit the mold of athletics director hires that were common more than 20 years ago. The catch is that being an AD these days is a lot more complicated. Being a businessman is almost (I said almost) as important as hiring and firing coaches is. Fulmer no doubt would be an adept fundraiser with his many ties throughout the fan base and booster network, but I don't know what his qualifications are in terms of running an organization as complicated as a modern athletics department.
While Fulmer would probably end up doing a great job, we'll have to see if the Tennessee powers that be are willing to hire another rookie like Hamilton was when he started. I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to go with someone who has AD experience already.