Barnes backs and praises UT administration

Coach Barnes:” I am blessed to have a leader like Phillip Fulmer.”
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 2:31 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -What’s the old saying, when the going gets tough, the tough get’s going! Well it’s time to see just how tough Tennessee can be! Without a doubt, the last couple days have been about as tough as there’s been in UT history. The events of Monday which included the firing of coach Jeremy Pruitt and several members of his staff, the retiring of Vol legend Phillip Fulmer as Director of Athletics and the realization that Tennessee will need to brace for punishment from the NCAA was almost too much to take in for Vol Nation.

Then came Tuesday and the hope that the 6th ranked Tennessee basketball team would have its way with rival Florida. Well, just the opposite took place in Gainesville as the Gators dominated the Vols from start to finish on their way to a 26 point win. Ouch!

And while head coach Rick Barnes was none too pleased with his team’s effort and leadership, he is pleased with the leadership displayed this week by his University and said as much following the loss at Florida:

“I really feel for our football staff because they’re a lot of really nice people there and it’s very tough on many families. I have so much respect for Phillip Fulmer, he’s a Tennessee legend; I met him my first year here through a bible study here and I have never met a person like that who loves this university more than him. He did a job he was asked to do, he was asked to calm things down and bring warmth to the athletic department and get people re-engaged. I’m sure he’s disappointed because he wanted to fix the entire athletic department. If you watch that press conference, there is no question that anyone wouldn’t sit under the leadership of Randy Boyd and Donde Plowman. This is a great university. I’ve been at a lot of different places, but the leadership at this university is one of the best I’ve been around, if not the best. When you know what I know from the inside, I know that I am blessed to have a leader like Phillip Fulmer was for me. The new AD will be the fourth one since I’ve been here and I’ve had a great relationship with every one of them and have great admiration for them. You’re going to go through periods like these, but I will tell you that the leadership at this university is the best. Having a chance to have Donde and Randy and hearing them talk like that during that press conference, a lot of people would love to have them at their side, and I am blessed that I am. We are going to have great days ahead because there are too many people at this university to let it fail. Again, I’m disappointed the way we played tonight, and it hurts when you played as poor as we did but the most important thing is then the integrity of this university. It’s one of the greatest universities in this country and it’s only going to get better. We have so much to proud of and I think that is what came from yesterday in terms of moving forward. We’re a university that’s led by people that expect excellence in everything we do. Integrity is the most important thing to have with our jobs and our position and I’m thankful for the leadership. I’m going to miss Coach Fulmer, he’s a true legend and I do want people to know he worked hard to calm things down and get things back on track.”

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