Sources: Jeremy Pruitt accepts coaching job; deal not finalized

By WVLT Staff |

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Local 8 Sports contributor Chris Low of ESPN says Pruitt has accepted the deal with UT, but both parties are still finalizing it. Chris told Local 8 News during our 11pm broadcast Wednesday night, “… both sides plan for Pruitt to be the next head coach at Tennessee and they’re working out the final details. There may be some conversation as to whether or not he’s gonna be Alabama’s defensive coordinator through the playoffs. I think they’ll probably work through that, Kirby Smart did a couple years ago.” Chris went on to say he’s confident Pruitt wants the job and told Tennessee as much, but again, they’re just truing to work out the details. Jeremy Pruitt is a guy that fits the profile Phillip Fulmer was looking for, somebody who brings a defensive presence, a guy who’s SEC tested and someone who’s a very good recruiter.

In fact Low went on to tell us, “…Jeremy is a no nonsense guy… I don’t think he’s a guy that’s gonna be mugging for the camera and telling a lot of anecdotal stories, but what I go back to is he’s a great recruiter being able to connect with people from all walks of life all cultures…he’s done it down at Mobile in Texas all across the Southeast so he understands people and how to talk with them how to form relationships with people and that will be one of his greatest strengths at Tennessee if you’re gonna make it at Tennessee much like Phillip Fulmer back in the 90’s you’ve got to be a great recruiter and more importantly have a great recruiting operation.”

Also confirming the apparent hire of Pruitt is Brent Hubbs of We asked our media partner if there were any concerns with the hire of Pruitt and he said, “…Pruitt’s seen how a program is run and successful at Florida State he was at Georgia, he’s obviously been at Alabama but how does he do it his way. The other thing is does he lean on Phillip Fulmer, does he allow Phillip to kind of mentor him along or is he very stubborn as he’s got a reputation of being and saying I’m gonna do it my way and this is my way.”

Jeremy Pruitt is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, while he’s only been in that position since 2016 it’s not his first stint with the Crimson Tide. Pruitt began his coaching career in Tuscaloosa as a graduate assistant in 1997 and then moved on to the high school ranks for almost a decade, coaching on the defensive side of the ball the entire time.

Pruitt returned to the college ranks with Alabama in 2007 coaching in the secondary and stayed through 2012. In 2013 he accepted the defensive coordinator position at FSU and went on to win the national championship that year under Jimbo Fisher. During the 2014-15 season returned to the SEC as a defensive coordinator for Georgia.

Pruitt’s playing career as a defensive back was split between MTSU (1993-1994) and Alabama (1995-1996).

The 43-year-old is widely recognized as an excellent recruiter and was a Broyles Award finalist in 2016.

The offer comes after an exhaustive coaching search to replace Butch Jones that caused tension and uncertainty between Vol fans and the university’s athletic administration.

Since the Sunday, Nov. 26, fiasco with the potential hire of Greg Schiano during John Currie’s search, there’s been a running list of coach candidates which has expanded to include John Gruden of ESPN’s Monday Night Football, David Cutcliffe of Duke, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State University, Jeff Brohm of Purdue, Dan Mullen, who took the position at Florida, Chad Morris of Southern Methodist University and Dave Doeren of N.C. State.