Former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer to headline Emerald O’ccasion

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s 32nd annual fundraising dinner to be held March 9 at Knoxville Marriott Hotel

The 32nd annual Emerald O’ccasion Catholic Charities fundraising dinner in Knoxville will be complemented with a dash of orange this year.
Phillip Fulmer, unquestionably one of the biggest names in University of Tennessee sports history, will be the guest speaker for the March 9 event at the Knoxville Marriott Hotel.

“This is as good as it gets. The Diocese of Knoxville and Catholic Charities of East Tennessee are happy to have Coach Fulmer as our guest speaker this year,” Bishop Richard F. Stika said. “I have been a Tennessee fan since I arrived in Knoxville, and I am excited to meet Coach Fulmer personally. His teams were winners. His approach was family oriented. There is a lot to be impressed with, and I am looking forward to hearing some of his stories.”

The Catholic Charities dinner typically draws 300-350 attendees.

Proceeds enable Catholic Charities of East Tennessee to provide services to the poor and vulnerable in our region. Each year, Catholic Charities serves more than 4,000 individuals through innovative programs that include counseling, housing, pregnancy support, and education. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased online at or

Mr. Fulmer won 152 games in 17 seasons as head coach of the UT football team, second most in school history behind legendary Vols head coach Robert Neyland.

Mr. Fulmer’s fearless approach to scheduling saw his teams face some of the biggest programs in college football outside of the Southeastern Conference. A win over nationally ranked Syracuse in 1998 set the tone for a remarkable season that saw Mr. Fulmer’s Volunteers win the BCS national title with a 23-17 win over Florida State in Tempe, Ariz.

Tennessee won six division titles and two SEC championships with Mr. Fulmer as its head coach.

Mr. Fulmer also was a standout player at Tennessee and won two SEC titles while playing as an offensive lineman from 1968-71.

Mr. Fulmer has received unprecedented recognition from his peers—the second coach in history to earn the Eddie Robinson Coach of Distinction Trophy, the presidency of the American Football Coaches Association, and national, regional, and conference coach of the year honors.

Emcees for the March 9 dinner will be Kristin Farley, news anchor at WATE-TV, and Jim Wogan, sports director at WATE-TV for 24 years who now is communications director for the Diocese of Knoxville. ■

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