After an underwhelming 2020 campaign along with some off-the-field controversy, the Tennessee Volunteers football program is parting ways with head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
The Vols went 3-7 in 2020, making it one of the worst campaigns in the program’s history. But the straw that may have broke the camel’s back a self-reported recruiting violation.
Pruitt leaves the Vols with a 16-19 record, one of the worst three-year stretches in Tennessee history. And this late in the hiring cycle, finding a top-tier replacement will be difficult.
Vols fans are mixed on Pruitt’s tenure in Knoxville. Most are frustrated by how bad his tenure was and how he continued the school’s relative decade of misery, while others admit to liking the man in spite of his flaws.
"This decade is going to be the decade of the Vols (continuing to operate in total dysfunction)."
With Jeremy Pruitt out, Tennessee is looking for its fourth head coach since 2012.
At some point you'd think they see the rake.
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) January 18, 2021
I am surprised— I thought Pruitt had another year, but the NCAA investigations brought the train ride to hell to a screeching halt.
— Jack Woods (@jack_woods15) January 18, 2021
Feel for Coach Pruitt! He will land on his feet and be fine I hope! Hopefully we make a good hire and give the next guy a chance
— Brett Kendrick (@B_Ken63) January 18, 2021
One fanbase that smells opportunity with Pruitt’s departure is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Pruitt is an Alabama alum with nearly a decade of experience on Nick Saban’s coaching staff.
Some Bama fans are already calling for Saban to scoop up his former assistant.
Can Alabama get their D Coordinator back?? https://t.co/Qt2ESDhuwn
— Parker Branton (@ParkerBranton) January 18, 2021
With reports that Tennessee has fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt, should Alabama bring him back? https://t.co/AN1SEU802p
— Alabama Diehards (@AlabamaDieHards) January 18, 2021
If Alabama ends up getting Jeremy Pruitt back as DC it’s gonna be fun to see him on the same sideline with his twin Bill O’Brien. pic.twitter.com/7NQ2t35rqj
— Sebastian Posey (@SebastianPosey) January 18, 2021
As for Tennessee, they’re now seeking their fifth head coach since Phillip Fulmer stepped down in 2008. While there are still plenty of big names out there like Hugh Freeze, Bill O’Brien and Gus Malzahn, they really hurt themselves by waiting so long to get started.
On top of all of that, the alleged resignation of Fulmer as their athletic director could slow down the process too.
The Vols are in quite a pickle right now. And they likely have a court date with Pruitt to deal with soon too.
What a mess.