A word from the coach

Boys and Girls Club welcomes Phillip Fulmer to banquet

It was humorous moment for coach Phillip Fulmer. The former UT coach shared a story with those attending the Boys and Girls Club Annual Banquet on March 26, telling of his new everyday life outside of football.

His wife, Vicky, sent him to the store to pick up something for their new grandchild.

Fulmer said he was waiting for a sales associate to return when he overheard a couple pass behind him.

“That was coach Fulmer,” the youg woman said.

The man with her chided her: “There’s no way coach Fulmer would be in the Baby Department.”

The coach said this time away from the football field has been like a sabbatical to him. “That’s what I consider myself on -- a sabbatical. My wife considers it a time when I’m at her service,” he said, as the audience laughed.

Fulmer said he hopes to coach again one day. “I’m really looking forward to getting back into coaching,” he said.

Fulmer was the keynote speaker at the annual banquet honoring the work of the Boys and Girls Club and shared his thoughts on the importance of the club. “Being a Blount Countian myself makes this special,” he said of speaking at the event.

Fulmer said he didn’t have a Boys and Girls Club in Winchester, Tenn., where he grew up but there were people in the community who helped children and showed them opportunities by taking them to football games and showing them colleges and universities. That was how he saw his first UT football game as a teen.

“It was an amazing time of growth for me and that’s what the Boys and Girls Club does,” he said.

The coach encouraged the audience to donate to support the organization financially. “To invest in the life of a child is one of the most important investments you can make,” he said.

Fulmer said all money raised at the banquet stayed with the local Boys and Girls Club of Blount County. “I can’t emphasize enough how important this organization is to young people, not only in the opportunities it gives them, but for saving their lives,” he said.

Maryville City Manager Greg McClain shared his thoughts on growing up at the Boys and Girls Club in Eagleton. “This is a place I spent a lot of my young life. I used to dunk a basketball on that goal. It was 100 pounds and 30 years ago.”

McClain grew up in Eagleton Village. “I found myself here in 1972 when this place opened. I was 12. You don’t realize what it will do to you because it seems like it is just a place to play ball. I spend from 1972 to 1977 in this building, and it shaped me tremendously.”

McClain held up his Boys Club basketball jersey. “It meant a lot to me,” he said.

McClain said that between God’s grace and hard work he’s had the opportunity to work in the same community where he grew up. The Maryville city manager then praised the Boys and Girls Club and encouraged those present to support the organization, echoing coach Fulmer’s sentiments. “There’s no greater investment than these children’s lives,” McClain said.

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