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Talk about a ripple effect. There’s nothing in sports quite like fan reactions when a beloved SEC school makes a drastic change to its football program. Just ask fans of the Tennessee Volunteers who just watched Phil Fulmer announce he’d be leaving the program at the end of the year.

Fulmer has been with Tennessee as either a player or coach since 1968. He was awarded the head coaching job in 1992. 40 years of service to one program gone, just like that.

Like I said, no one reacts quite like fans of an SEC school when things like this happen and boy, did the Tennessee fans ever react to Coach Fulmer’s resignation/firing/vacating his position at the end of year. Some fans are happy to see him go, while others are so happy, it seems like they are dancing on his grave. These latter types have drawn the ire of other Volunteer fans like the guys at LwS.

Let’s not forget Fulmer’s list of accomplishments: one national title, two SEC Championships and lots of SEC East titles and those that are defending his legacy are operating from that point of view:

He promised to take Tennessee football to new heights and he delivered. Yet we couldn’t stand by him one year removed from the SEC Championship game. Some things are more important than winning. There is a bigger picture that most people will never grasp. The damage is done and Tennessee won’t recover from this for a long time.

Meanwhile, over at VolQuest, Tennessee fans are taking a walloping from opposing fans, the majority of them from Alabama. That might explain this post:

I am worried about the rest of the SEC now that Fulmer is gone. How will the rest of the SEC stop Bammer from cheating now that Phil Fulmer is gone?

Besides defending-your-program posts, most fans are talking about coaching replacement lists and one name that keeps popping is Tennessee’s last offensive coordinator and current Duke head coach, David Cutcliffe.

Yeah, about that. Not so much.

That’s right Vol fans, you just got turned down for the Duke Blue Devils … and we aren’t talking basketball, either. Does this go back to unreasonable expectations by fans or is Coach Cutcliffe simply standing by one of his mentors? For what it’s worth, I’m not sure any new coach is going to excite the hardcore Volunteer fans, unless his name ends in Carroll or Belichick.