Learning to Coach: A Qualitative Case Study of Phillip Fulmer

in Journal of Coaching Education
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  • 1 University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
  • | 2 Cape Breton University, Canada
  • | 3 Maryville, TN

The purpose of this study was to explore former NCAA FBS National Champion football coach Phillip Fulmer’s biography to understand how his knowledge and practices were learned from various sociocultural experiences. The participant, Phillip Fulmer, former head football coach of the University of Tennessee (UT; 1992–2008), participated in multiple sports as a youth, played football at UT, and coached for over 30 years. A qualitative case study design with in-depth interviews was used to understand his experiences and developmental path as he learned to coach. The findings reveal four key developmental stages: athlete, graduate assistant, assistant coach, and head coach. Fulmer’s earliest learning experiences would later guide his coaching beliefs, values, and actions.

Brian T. Gearity is with the School of Human Performance and Recreation at the University of Southern Mississippi. Bettina Callary is with the Department of Community Studies, Sport and Human Kinetics at Cape Breton University. Phillip Fulmer lives in Maryville, Tennessee.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Brian T. Gearity at Brian.gearity@usm.edu.
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