How Coach Phillip Fulmer Became the Keynote Speaker at WILLCO Awards

Education Foundation for Williamson County with Coach Fulmer

In its third year, the WILLCO Awards honoring student-athletes, coaches and teams from Williamson County Schools raised the bar even higher, including the featured speaker. Former University of Tennessee Head Football Coach Phillip Fulmer, who led the Vols to a National Championship in 1998, inspired the crowd of more than 800 with wisdom and anecdotes.

The story of how he ended up at the podium in Franklin that night is one small part of the narrative of all the people responsible for pulling the WILLCO Awards off.

“Coach Fulmer did an incredible job, and we were able to have him with us thanks to the support of the Education Foundation for Williamson County, who raised the funds to bring him in for our students and coaches,” said Williamson County Schools Athletic Director Jeremy Qualls, who led the creation, planning and execution of the event. “These folks care about our schools and our WCS family, and we are very appreciative of their support on the WILLCOs and other important initiatives.”

Landmark Community Bank’s Franklin City President, Barry Allen, led the effort to secure Fulmer for the event, working with his fellow Education Foundation Board members and private companies to quietly raise the money to cover the speaker’s fees. In addition to Landmark Bank, contributors included Stites & Harbison, PLLC; Franklin Synergy Bank; TBH Global Asset Management; BMC Metals; Hale & Hale, PLC; Janine Moore, and the family of Alena Bell.

Education Foundation President Stacey Watson said it was a thrill to see the student-athletes and their coaches treated like celebrities before soaking up Fulmer’s advice.

“Athletics are an important part of the educational process, and these teams work hard and sacrifice year-round for their love of school and community,” Watson said. “The Education Foundation was in a position to help make this something they would remember for the rest of their lives, and not many communities are so fortunate. I know I speak for the Foundation’s Board and partners in saying we’re proud to be a part of making our schools the best they can be.”

For more information on the Education Foundation for Williamson County, please visit

See Also: Photos of the 2017 WILLCO Awards