Literary contributors see humor in Tennessee football cheating scandal


The Tennessee recruiting scandal dominated local news last week. My columns on Casey Pruitt and Phillip Fulmer also generated many responses from my messaging group.

Mike writes: Since you introduced Randy Travis and “cheater” into the cast, may I say: Casey is the walking, talking, belly-crawling personification of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”

My answer: Tammy was with five different husbands. Miraculously, she lasted six years with George Jones.

Casey Pruitt, wife of Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, arrives before an SEC football game between Tennessee and Florida in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Mark writes: OMG-your post today was hilarious and the best yet.

I just wonder how Casey is going to do with that “…for the richer or the poorer…” part?

John, you are our GOAT.

My answer: I don’t think Casey signed on to be married off to a high school coach.

Mark writes: Well, you just had to, you went full NUKLEAR, total scorched earth, on VFM in this article. And I thought my comments about those Brandy Whistlers were harsh, hoo boy, you make me look like a sensitivity trainer. I would recommend a good cup of herbal tea and a yoga mat.

The SEC should just change its name to ATM CONFERENCE, because that’s the only thing that matters at this point.

My answer: No one who follows your creative prose would accuse you of being too sensitive.

Jim writes: Genius. Keep up the good work.

My answer: Thank you very much, Jim. Until this email, Jeremy Pruitt and I had one thing in common: no one had ever called us geniuses.

Adam:How could Phillip Fulmer not notice that Tennessee Vols was cheating? here’s how

After:You could call Casey Pruitt a cheater. I call her a coach’s perfect wife

Mary writes: Enjoyed your column on Fulmer and Pruitt!! You hit the nail on the head. Fulmer has always been a bit dodgy.

My answer: I’m sure Fulmer knew nothing about the NCAA violations piling up behind his football coach.

That last sentence was a test. I wanted to see if I could write it with a straight face.

I did it.

Kudos to me. Or, as Fulmer would say, “k’dooze” for me.

Michael writes: Coach Fulmer doesn’t want to succeed at UT. If UT football is ever successful, what will happen to Coach Fulmer? More invitations to parties with former alumni and donors where he can talk about his former glory days and retell the story of when Peyton Manning called him to tell him he was staying.

UT’s failures only keep Fulmer’s glory alive.

My answer: If he was so concerned with preserving the “glory days,” he should never have coached until he left the program in dire straits. And he definitely shouldn’t have taken the athletic director job.

Britney writes: John, Finally, someone gives me the actual “daily diary” that Fulmer had in his pseudo AD role. I’ve been asking for this for a long time. I believe Fulmer was totally unaware of the violations that were going on because he was simply “too busy”. There are mistakes in hiring coaches and mistakes in hiring ADs.

Let’s not blame Pruitt too much. He just wanted a job he obviously wasn’t qualified for and got it from a really unqualified AD. When you make a much bigger mistake by hiring a truly unqualified DA, everyone pays the price.

My answer: Beverly Davenport, who hired Fulmer, was an unqualified chancellor. Do you notice a trend?

Think how much better UT is in those positions now with Donde Plowman as chancellor, Danny White as AD and Josh Heupel as football coach.

Donald writes: I enjoyed your breakdown of Fulmer’s day as AD. I started a doctorate. at UT in 2006, and watched all this sad, slow-moving, catastrophic, hilarious disaster since Fulmer’s disappearance began.

I’d love to be able to root for UT, but it’s like rooting for a car, loaded with clowns who had just robbed a bank, only to come across a group of preschoolers crossing the street, while one of the clowns inside this crowded clown car tries to shoot a bee with a .44 magnum.

Yeah, that’s a complicated metaphor, but it rings true to me.

My answer: Give the Flights a chance. Josh Heupel is a step up from their old coaches and his offense is hugely entertaining.

As for the metaphor, don’t apologize. This will challenge my other literary readers to take more risks.

Terri writes: John, thank you for all those years of laughs.

My answer: If you have a dark sense of humor, you could thank Pruitt for the same.

Linda writes: I confess that I don’t read your column very often. However, I really enjoyed your column about Casey being the perfect woman for a coach. I burst out laughing at the last paragraph. Did Fulmer really have more than 500 sheets? Thanks for the humor.

My answer: Thanks, but I was just the messenger. Fulmer and the Pruitts provided the laughs.

Mike writes: I enjoyed your column regarding Phil Fulmer’s failure to pay attention to what was going on in the UT athletic department. I especially liked the comment about Casey Pruitt wanting an office with an ATM!

I still wonder how John Currie would have performed as DA if he had been left alone to do the job, with the full backing of the UT administration and without the vicious guesswork and gossip that took place at that time.

My answer: Currie was outnumbered and never had a chance. But he still hired an outstanding baseball and tennis coach.

John Adams is senior columnist. He can be reached at 865-342-6284 or [email protected] Follow him at:

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