Phillip Fulmer, the longtime University of Tennessee head football coach who preceded Lane Kiffin, released a statement Thursday morning. Kiffin left the Vols after 14 months to be the head coach at Southern Cal, and Fulmer was mentioned Wednesday as a possible coaching candidate and possibly a replacement for UT athletic director Mike Hamilton.
Fulmer denied he is a candidate for the head-coaching position in his statement, which was released by his current employer - CBS Sports - and is listed below:
"Over the last 24 hours, I have been contacted by friends, great fans and media members, and I feel it is important to comment, as a man who loves the University of Tennessee deeply and shares this love with millions of great Volunteer fans and friends.
"Recent events have been painful and an embarrassment to all of us who care about UT. I love the university. I am loyal to my alma mater and am ready to help as the university makes one of the most important decisions in the history of our football program. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I am not seeking to be a candidate for the head-coaching position.
"I am looking forward to embracing the next coach and have some strong beliefs about the kind of man he should be. He must embrace Tennessee's culture and traditions, be mature and of good character, and demonstrate integrity and leadership to our young men who desperately want to be shown the way. He must deserve, earn and keep the trust of our young men - both present and future.
"Tennessee football has been successful for so many years because it has been rooted in values and traditions. We can't take those values for granted - if we do not guard them carefully, we will lose them."
For more on the UT coaching search check back to timesfreepress.com and read Friday's Times Free Press.