Georgia football coach Mark Richt has been known to leave a lasting impression.
For new Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, that impression remained vivid after more than a decade.
"In 2003, I was a football coach at Fort Payne High School," Pruitt said this morning at his introductory news conference in Athens. "I brought two prospects over here to Georgia, and I had the opportunity to meet Coach Richt for the first time. When I walked out of that room 30 minutes later, I was wowed.
"I said right then and there that if I ever had the opportunity to work for him that I wanted to be a part of his staff."
Pruitt became the most high-profile hire of the 14-year Richt era Tuesday when he agreed to coach the Bulldogs just eight days after helping Florida State eclipse Auburn for its first national title since 1999. The Seminoles racked up 35 turnovers this past season and led the nation by allowing just 12.1 points per game.
Florida State is expected to be the preseason No. 1 for 2014, so it was no surprise when Pruitt quickly was asked why he would leave Tallahassee after just one season.
"If you follow this business, there are highs and lows everywhere," he said. "For seven straight years, the SEC won the national championship. FSU is on top right now, and there is never an easy time to leave any place, especially when it's a place where you have such dear friends who gave you an opportunity and the players there, but the opportunity to come to the University of Georgia and the chance to work with Coach Richt - there are a lot of folks who would love to be sitting in this chair today."
Richt was left searching for a defensive coordinator Sunday afternoon after Todd Grantham elected to leave after four seasons for the same position at Louisville. Richt said a big reason for Grantham's departure was the opportunity Grantham will now have to coach with his younger brother, Tony, on Bobby Petrino's Cardinals.
For more information, read Thursday's Times Free Press