Mike Griffith/SEC Country
Phillip Fulmer coached the Vols to a national football title in 1998, and now he's trying to help rebuild the athletic department and football program as athletic director.

Why is Tennessee football considering bump in ticket prices?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer likes the direction the Vols sports programs are heading and how his coaches are going about their business.

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“I’ve held the Director of Athletics role for more than two months now, and the energy level around our 20 athletic programs intensifies with each passing week,” Fulmer wrote in a UTsports.com letter to Tennessee fans:

“We currently have nine teams ranked among the national top-25 in their respective sports. Women’s basketball is ranked 15th in the AP poll, while our men’s basketball team is ranked 19th. The Lady Vols softball team is ranked 11th in the country by the NFCA. Our women’s track team is ranked 14th by the USTFCCCA. The women’s and men’s swimming & diving teams are ranked 10th and 12th, respectively, by the CSCAA. Women’s tennis just landed at No. 18 in the ITA’s first computer poll of the season, and our men’s tennis (ITA) and men’s golf (Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll) teams are ranked 23rd and 25th nationally.”

Even with all that success, Tennessee athletics has plenty of challenges ahead, and one of them is fundraising at a time when football is not at its best.

Consider the Vols’ football record against Alabama, Georgia and Florida in the last 10 years versus the program’s record versus those three schools in the previous 10 years.

Tennessee football rivalries 2008 to 2017

vs. Alabama (0-10)

vs. Florida (1-9)

vs. Georgia (3-7)

Tennessee football rivalries 1998 to 2007

vs. Alabama (7-3)

vs. Florida (4-6)

vs. Georgia (5-5)

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The answer is that part of the recipe for the recovery of the Vols football program is maintaining top-shelf facilities.

RELATED: Tennessee football considering bump in ticket prices

Hall of Fame athletic director Doug Dickey once explained how Tennessee has always had a plan to build and maintain the finest sports facilities in the SEC.

Former football star and coach Johnny Majors said that was his idea, as well, and now Fulmer is falling in line.

Plans are in place for a $340 million renovation to Neyland Stadium that will ensure fans continue to come out and support the team. That attendance produces revenue, which in turn goes into paying the best coaches and padding a national recruiting budget.

Fulmer, meanwhile, said he’s taking care of the rest as far as the athletic administration.

“Internally, right now, we’re in a good place, good people here, and we’re earning each others’ trust,” Fulmer said on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday.

“I think warmth is one of the things we missed here for a long period of time, meaning I care about you and you care about us and me, and we care about the student-athletes. It may sound corny, but that’s one of our pillars.

“Communication, trust, warmth and intensity about getting our job done. That’s very important to compete in this league.”