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Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruitt as next head football coach

08 December 2017, 01:08 | Pamela Mathis

Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruitt as next head football coach

Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruitt as next head football coach

It will be interesting to see if Copeland becomes the first of what is likely to be many elite prospects that come to Rocky Top to play for Coach Pruitt.

Pruitt has been a finalists for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top college football assistant coach, in 2013 and 2016.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as its head coach, capping a tumultuous search that cost an athletic director his job as the Volunteers attempt to recover from one of their most disappointing seasons. During that time, the Crimson Tide appeared in the College Football Playoff both years, losing to Clemson in the national championship game in 2016. He was Alabama's defensive backs coach from 2010-12 when the Crimson Tide won two national national titles.

Fulmer reportedly met with Pruitt and other candidates over the past few days, and started to narrow his search while in NY for the College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where former UT great Peyton Manning was being honored. Being the "main man" on campus and steering the ship can turn even the best of coaches into a shell of their former self. He joins Georgia's Kirby Smart, South Carolina's Will Muschamp and newly-hired Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M.

Pruitt was a high school coach for a decade before returning to his alma mater in 2007 to work under Nick Saban, where he was the director of player development until 2012. The All-American defensive back said he knows the career assistant Pruitt would make a great head coach.

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Knoxville radio station WNML first reported that Pruitt had accepted the job.

The hire completes a bumpy rollercoaster search for Tennessee that saw former athletics director John Currie ousted and replaced by Fulmer last Friday. Then Tennessee went after Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, but it's unclear if there was any truth to that, so the next coach in line was N.C. State's Dave Doeren who also turned down the job.

Tennessee was close to hiring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on November 26 before that deal fell through amid a public backlash.

Pruitt was also a recent finalist for the Mississippi State head coaching position, but the Bulldogs hired Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead on November 28.



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