Sanders has been the main target of fans disturbed by Tennessee's lack of offensive production this season. The Vols are 3-4 and have lost three games in a row. They failed to score a touchdown in a 6-3 loss to Alabama two weeks ago and managed less than 100 passing yards in a 16-15 loss to South Carolina last Saturday night.
Fulmer, who elevated Sanders to offensive coordinator when David Cutcliffe left UT to become head coach at Ole Miss in December of 1998, was somber as he addressed the media regarding the resignation.
"No one has worked harder or with more dedication through the years," Fulmer said. "I'm sad that it has come to this but I also understand how volatile and demanding the world of college athletics is.
"The play-calling duties will be shared by the offensive staff. Randy will continue as the quarterback coach, as well as sharing in those duties.
"Practice will be closed this week, so our team and our staff will have as little distraction as possible as we prepare for Notre Dame."
Sanders had this to say to the media:
"The University of Tennessee has meant a lot to me. I've been here 22 years now, and it's a very special place. It's been a very big part of my life. I'm going to miss this place.
"But the fact is, there's a whole lot more to life than Tennessee football. I think the last few weeks have brought me to that realization. We've worked hard. I've worked hard. Basically, if I'm going to put in 14- and 16-hour days for six days (per week) and get the results we got, that's not what I need.
"Somewhere along the line, things have gotten out of kilter a little bit offensively this year. I don't necessarily know that it's all my fault but the fact is, it's my ship. We haven't played as we needed to.
"I've never been afraid to change quarterbacks, to change receivers or make a shakeup in the offensive line. And I'm not going to ask the quarterbacks to change – if it's the best thing for the program – if I'm not willing to do the same thing myself.
"I'm looking forward to the next four games. I'm looking forward to winning the next four games. I'm looking forward to finishing this season off as our seniors deserve. I can promise you, even though I'm not going to be back doing this next year, it's not going to slow down my efforts and my desire to get this done."