Birth of a wisecrack

Phillip Fulmer, soon to begin his 15th season as the University of Tennessee's head football coach, shared a pretty clever wisecrack on a recent episode of the "Head Coach" television series.

"Recruiting is kind of like shaving," he said. "If you don't do it every day, you're going to look bad."

I've got a sneaky suspicion I know where that quip originated.

Back in July of 1995 I was in my early days as editor of Rocky Top News. I had no idea who to put on the cover of my debut issue but I figured you couldn't go wrong with the Vols' head football coach. I called Fulmer's office and got approval to stop by and shoot a cover photo.

I had interviewed Phillip Fulmer dozens of times but I had never shot his picture, so I was a little nervous. I hastily pointed the camera, clicked a few times, then thanked him and rushed back to my office.

As fate would have it, I was a lot happier with that first cover than Phillip was. A few days after the issue hit the newsstands he approached me as I was visiting the UT football complex.

"Why didn't you tell me I needed a shave before you took that picture?" he asked.

"I didn't realize you needed one," I said.

Fulmer frowned, shook his head and said, "I looked like a guy on a three-day drunk."

I'm pretty sure that incident was the inspiration for the "recruiting is kind of like shaving" wisecrack.

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