Did LSU Do a Fulmer?
By: Larry Burton
Next year it will be 10 years since Tennessee fired the best coach they’ve had several decades, Phillip Fulmer. He brought them a national championship, two SEC championships and five SEC Eastern titles. He’s in the College Football Hall of fame and had just two losing seasons in his 17 years as Tennessee’s head coach. In his Vol years he had a .743 winning percentage and had the longest winning streak against Alabama of any coach with 7 wins in a row.
He was also an ace recruiter, a great fund raiser for the school and extremely loyal to the school he loved.
And they fired him.
The following nine years have been filled with heartache two coaches who couldn’t get the job done near as good as Fulmer did and one that bolted before he could prove what he could do there long term. If the current dud, Butch Jones, doesn’t greatly improve on his .588 winning percentage at Tennessee, then they will be looking to start all over once again.
Does this story’s beginning have a familiar plot line?
When you look at this story and then look around college football, can you not see the course LSU is taking and wonder if they just pulled another Fulmer?
While it could be argued that Les Miles may have not been their best coach in decades, you have count Saban in that slot, but certainly he’s the second best coach they’ve had in decades. He brought them a national championship, two SEC championships, three SEC Western championships and all in just 11 seasons. He two will be in the College Football Hall of Fame some day and while at LSU, never had a losing season. He had a .770 winning percentage at LSU which was by the way slightly higher than Nick Saban’s .750 winning percentage, but to be fair, Saban left him a fully stocked set of shelves while Saban himself sort inherited a train wreck.
He was one of the top recruiters in the entire nation, a great fund raiser for the university and loyal to the school he was employed at after being offered other jobs.
And they fired him.
Will the following years be filled with heartache like at Tennessee? Only time will tell. But the man that they chose to replace him was let go after his last two gigs as a head coach and while to know Ed Orgeron is to love him, it’s still OK to question his ability to run a program full time big time program given his last job for more than partial season as a head coach. Ole Miss was happy to be rid of him when they let him go and nobody was left sobbing for the good old days of the Orgeron era.
So what do you think? Participate in our poll and enjoy the results.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter