There are always crazy rumors during coaching searches, and given the circumstances and timing of Arkansas' dismissal of Bobby Petrino, the search for the new Razorbacks head coach is certainly going to draw more attention than your average search.
One of the more intriguing names now being mentioned in the search is former Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer.
Yes, that Phil Fulmer.
According to Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News Bureau and ArkansasNews.com, former Tennessee assistant coach Doug Matthews confirmed on WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Tenn., that Fulmer has been contacted about the Arkansas opening but didn't know the extent of the conversation or conversations.
Fulmer denied the report Wednesday afternoon according to GoVolsXtra.com. "I have not been contacted by Arkansas," said Fulmer. "But I think Arkansas is a great place.’’
Noticeably absent from that statement are references to Fulmer's representatives and independent representatives of Arkansas' search, so consider the door still open—or at least unlocked.
Fulmer was the head coach at Tennessee from 1992 to 2008. During his time in Knoxville, Fulmer won the SEC championship in 1997 and 1998 and won the BCS national championship in 1998. He was 152-52 during his time as a head coach at Tennessee, which included eight bowl wins.
He has been out of coaching since resigning from Tennessee under pressure following a disappointing 2008 season that saw the Vols finish 5-7.
If this is a stopgap move to get Arkansas through the season, then I can certainly understand it. But if this is being considered as a long-term solution for the Razorbacks, Arkansas would be better served to get through the season with an interim head coach and then see who's on the market this winter.
Arkansas has the talent, depth and leaders in the program to be a BCS contender with or without Petrino, so making a knee-jerk reaction on a long-term coaching solution is not the responsible thing to do.