Tennessee Finalizes Deal With Jeremy Pruitt

Wiedmer: Pruitt or no Pruitt, NCAA's Emmert is last person who should criticize UT

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. Pruitt worked with the Crimson Tide as a graduate assistant in 1997, but spent much of his time after that coaching at the high school level.

"Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria", Fulmer said in a news release. He will honor our university's values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes. Prior, he had turned around the defense at Georgia under Mark Richt.

Pruitt has been Alabama's defensive coordinator since 2016.

At long last, Tennessee has its next head football coach.

A two-time all-state defense back at Plainview High School, Pruitt played college ball at Middle Tennessee State and Alabama in the mid 90s. Saban is 11-0 in his career against former assistants.

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. Before that he served as the defensive coordinator at Georgia from 2014-15 and at Florida State in 2013.

It won't be easy to get Will Friend away from Mike Bobo at Colorado State (Friend makes over $500,000 as the Rams' offensive coordinator), but Pruitt is the one guy that might be able to get it done.

The Alabama native returned to Alabama for his second stint in Tuscaloosa following Kirby Smart's departure to Georgia.

Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will become the next head coach at Tennessee, according to multiple reports.

Pruitt won three national championships (2009, 2011 and 2012) while at Alabama. Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen and Jalen Ramsey are just a few of the players he has helped guide to the NFL.

It's also worth noting that teams will have a tenth assistant beginning next year.

The renowned recruiter and savvy defensive assistant was pegged by new athletics director Phillip Fulmer to lead Tennessee's turnaround, replacing Butch Jones, who was sacked on November 12. In five years as Tennessee's head coach, Jones was 34-27 and 14-24 in conference play. Tennessee's administration has been under fire for the way the entire process has been handled, starting with the Greg Schiano fiasco on November 25. The hiring caps a tumultuous search that cost an athletic director his job as the Volunteers attempt to recover from one of their most disappointing seasons. Then the school's athletic director, John Currie, was sacked last Friday, capping an embarrassing stretch for the once-proud SEC school.

This evening's press conference to introduce Pruitt will be held in the Peyton Manning locker room of Neyland Stadium.

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