Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer is in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Tennessee athletic director and former Volunteers football coach Phillip Fulmer said Friday he is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. And Miami’s Manny Diaz became the latest active coach to announce he has contracted the virus.
Fulmer, 70, posted on Twitter that he is “feeling fine” and was deemed not to have been in close contact with any Tennessee athletes or “sport-specific staff members.”
Tennessee plays at No. 23 Auburn on Saturday.
Diaz made a similar social media post earlier to announce he tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating. Diaz, 46, said he will work virtually with the No. 12 Hurricanes until he can return to the field.
“I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am currently in isolation and feeling good overall,” Diaz tweeted.
The Hurricanes are third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, 7-1 overall and 6-1 in league play. They’ve won each of their last four games, including a comeback 25-24 win at Virginia Tech last weekend. Miami was “on the brink,” Diaz said, of choosing to not play that game because its roster was dealing with so many coronavirus cases.
Among the other active coaches to have publicly acknowledged a positive COVID-19 test are: Florida’s Dan Mullen, Florida State’s Mike Norvell, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin, Kansas’ Les Miles, Maryland’s Mike Locksley and Troy’s Chip Lindsey. Alabama coach Nick Saban also tested positive, but did not miss a game after that result was later deemed false.
Fulmer is a College Football Hall of Famer who coached the Vols for 17 years and won a national championship 1998. He has been Tennessee’s AD since 2017.
Diaz has said he believes the coronavirus numbers nationally “are really, really getting to a bad place.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 1 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the U.S. in the past week alone, numbers that — when combined with soaring hospitalization rates — prompted the CDC to urge Americans to curtail Thanksgiving travel and not partake in large gatherings with people from outside their household.
“What we know is we don’t have a coronavirus-in-college-football problem,” Diaz said Monday. “We have a coronavirus-in-America problem.”
College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.