Fulmer declines UT offer

Phillip Fulmer's on-again-off-again relationship with the University of Tennessee is off again ... at least in an official capacity.

Fulmer today reneged on an earlier commitment to serve a three-month assignment as a special assistant to UT president John Petersen. The temporary position would've paid the former Vol football coach a reported $37,500.

Fulmer has been a headline magnet lately. His forced resignation as head coach on Nov. 3 (effective at season's end) brought a storm of protest from his players and supporters. Announcement of the three-month administrative job brought another storm of protest - this time from UT employees.

The school is in a major financial pinch and Fulmer already is due to receive a $6 million buyout due to the dissolution of his football contract. Many UT staffers were outraged that the university would pay Fulmer twice while simultaneously eliminating teachers and academic programs.

Whether the protest figured in the decision or not, Fulmer has elected to decline the three-month stint as a special assistant.

What follows is an official UT statement on the matter emailed to media outlets today:

Phillip Fulmer has decided to not accept an offer from the University of Tennessee to take a 90-day appointment as a special assistant to President John Petersen, the University announced today.

Fulmer was offered an existing temporary position that had been left unfilled to give him time to consider his future without severing insurance and retirement benefits with the University.

"I am sorry for any confusion, and I appreciate the University allowing me to take time to consider my retirement and insurance options. Today I informed President Petersen that I will not be transitioning to a position in the President's office at this time. Instead, I have offered my services to him as an alumni volunteer, helping develop the university's relationships with its supporters. It has always been my goal to do what's right for this great University and bring Tennessee people together, and that's what I will continue to do," said Fulmer.

Petersen said: "Our announcement earlier this week in response to widespread media reports created some confusion. We had to move quickly to adhere to University retirement policies and deadlines. Under those policies the agreement would not have become final until today. In the days following our announcement, Phillip had the time he needed to consider it further."

"The University values Phillip's ability to unite and motivate his fellow alumni, and we will continue to seek ways to make the best use of his talents," Petersen said.

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