Jeremy Pruitt introduced as Tennessee's new head football coach [videos]

Jeremy Pruitt introduced as Tennessee's new head football coach [videos]

December 7th, 2017 by David Cobb in Breaking News

In this Aug. 6, 2016, file photo, Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt works with his players during preseason NCAA college football practice in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tennessee has hired Pruitt as its head coach on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, capping a tumultuous search that cost an athletic director his job as the Volunteers attempt to recover from one of their most disappointing seasons. (Vasha Hunt/AL.com via AP, File)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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UPDATE: The University of Tennessee revealed the details of Jeremy Pruitt's contract Thursday night.

The school's new football coach will be paid $3.8 million per year over six years and have the opportunity to make up to $1.2 million per year in performance-based incentives.

Pruitt, 43, has been making $1.3 million annually as Alabama's defensive coordinator.

 

ORIGINAL STORY: The University of Tennessee has hired an Alabama man to be its next football coach.

Former Alabama player, football support staff member and assistant Jeremy Pruitt will be introduced as Tennessee's head coach at a 6:05 p.m. press conference tonight on the UT campus.

Pruitt, 43, is currently the defensive coordinator for No. 4 Alabama. The Crimson Tide play Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal game on Jan. 1.

"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," Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a university announcement about Pruitt's hiring. "I'm certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee's caliber. He's driven to win at the highest level. He will honor our university's values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes.

"I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level."

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The Rainsville, Ala. native has never been a head coach before, but he has worked as a defensive coordinator at three of the nation's top football programs over the past five years.

Pruitt's first collegiate defensive coordinator job came in 2013, when he was hired at Florida State. The Seminoles won the national championship and ranked third in the country in total defense under his leadership.

Just eight days after Florida State's national title, Pruitt surprised many when he took the defensive coordinator job at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt, replacing Todd Grantham. Georgia ranked 17th nationally in total defense under Pruitt's direction in 2014 as the Bulldogs went 10-3. The defense improved to seventh nationally in 2015 as Georgia again went 10-3.

Richt was fired at the end of the year, but Pruitt landed in a familiar spot and arguably with a better job. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart took the head coaching job at Georgia, and Alabama coach Nick Saban called Pruitt back to Tuscaloosa to replace Smart.

Saban even made the hire before the Tide's national semifinal in the 2015 season.

"When it's a no-brainer, I don't know that there is a process," Saban said at the time. "What does 'no-brainer' mean to you? I'll define it — there was no doubt about who I was going to hire. I didn't interview anybody. I didn't talk to anybody. I just hired the guy.

"He worked here for six years. Maybe I should have called some people to find out how good he was and get some recommendations."

When Saban took over at Alabama in 2007, he hired Pruitt away from a job at Hoover High School to be Alabama's director of player development. Pruitt served in that role for three years before he was promoted to defensive backs coach. He served in that role from 2010 to 2012 before going to Florida State.

Pruitt is originally from Rainsville, Ala., just 60 miles southwest of Chattanooga. He played for his father, Dale Pruitt, at Plainview High School and led Plainview to a pair of state runner-up finishes in 1991 and 1992.

From there, Pruitt played two season for Middle Tennessee State before transferring to Alabama and playing for Gene Stallings as a backup defensive back.

He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1997 and had stints as an assistant for his dad at Plainview, a stop on the staff at Division 2 West Alabama and a few years at Fort Payne High School before he went to Hoover in 2004.

The Hoover High School football program became the subject of MTV's "Two-A-Days" show that followed the team for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The show featured Pruitt, who was the defensive coordinator at the time.

Pruitt and his wife, Casey, have a young son named Ridge. Pruitt also has a son named Jayse who is a reserve quarterback at Jacksonville State.

Dale Pruitt is now the coach at Albertville High School, which is about 90 miles southwest of Chattanooga.

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This story was updated Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.


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