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Fullmer Gets Raise, Extension

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer agreed to a new contract on Wednesday worth $9.1 million over seven years.

Fulmer, who guided the Volunteers to the 1998 national championship, was given a $250,000 raise, boosting his annual pay to $1.3 million, and a two-year extension through 2007.

"We hope he will stay and be our coach and our program will keep going and we will continue to be in the top five or six people in the country (in wins)," Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey said. "We're very happy about that."

The Vols had on off-year in 2000, finishing 8-4 and out of the final AP Top 25 for the first time since 1988, But Fulmer, who took over as coach before the end of the 1992 season, has the best winning percentage (.824) among Division I-A coaches with a minimum of five years on the job.

His bowl record, though, is 5-4, including a 35-21 loss to Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl. His Vols beat Florida State 23-16 in the '99 Fiesta Bowl to win the national title.

With the pay raise, the 50-year-old Fulmer moves up the earnings ladder but not to the top.

Florida's Steve Spurrier is the nation's highest-paid college football coach at $2.1 million a year. Florida State's Bobby Bowden makes $1.5 million, Texas coach Mack Brown is at $1.45 million and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is up to $1.4 million with his raise after leading the Sooners to the national title.

"This pay is appropriate to his winning and his performance at the university," Dickey said. "Within our program here, he has met our expectations and we are moving and happy to have him here."

New Alabama coach Dennis Franchione has a seven-year deal worth between $1.2 million and $1.4 million. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's raise gives him $1.25 million annually.

"I am extremely grateful to the administration at the University of Tennessee for the confidence and support it has in the leadership of the Vol football program," Fulmer said in a statement.

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