1992 was the season in Tennessee Volunteers history when one legend replaced another.
It is hardly possible to believe that a season ending with a 9–3 record would go down as one of the most tumultuous campaigns of Tennessee Volunteer football. But that is an apt description of what happened 20 years ago.
It was a season that was ushered in with the untimely death of the head athletic trainer and a heart bypass operation performed on the head coach. These preludes led to the main act featuring stars in the making at quarterback and running back, an improbable run up the national ranking to number four under unproven leadership, and an agonizing four weeks during which the team lost its only three games of the season, doing so under the recuperating head coach who had returned from the operating table at a timetable to perhaps save his job.
The finale gave us the transfer of power from one Tennessee legend to another.
William Shakespeare did not write this tale. It was more like a modern-day reality television show. But it really happened.
So, if you think 2008 was the most gut-wrenching season possible, take a trip back 20 years to when Phillip Fulmer began his Tennessee head coaching career, and when another Tennessee legend ended his.
Sitting in Peet’s, iPad working with wireless, morning coffee and pastry ready for consumption – it was a typical Sunday morning for Steven Sully, sitting across from his wife who preferred a tactile newspaper over the magical electronic version, ready to catch up on news from ‘back home’. That news often started with the goings and comings of Tennessee football.