Jeremy Pruitt introduced as Tennessee Vols head football coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It's official. Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was introduced as the 24th head coach of the Vols on Thursday evening at Neyland Stadium.

"I told Phillip [Fulmer] from the start, find the best person for our next football coach. I truly believe he's done the job," said UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport at the news conference.

"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." UT athletic director Phillip Fulmer said. "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."

"There was a time and place this team was feared in the SEC. My goal is to get us back to that point,".said Pruitt. "My vision for our football team is we want to be a big, fast, dominating, aggressive, relentless football team that nobody in the SEC wants to play."

Pruitt said coaching students off the field is just as important as coaching them off the field.

"I want guys who want a degree. I want guys who have a plan," he said.

He said his expectation is to win every game the team plays and believes the players will take on the personality of the head coach.

"I want to challenge everyone who is associated with the University of Tennessee, let's get our hands out of our pockets, let's roll our sleeves up and lets get out in the streets working," said Pruitt.

Pruitt said he will work at UT recruiting until the dead period and then will return to Alabama to serve as defensive coordinator for the College Football Playoff.

He said he would take his time to build a staff, making sure to find the right people for the job, and would not name any names.

Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman says UGA OLB coach Kevin Sherrer is expected to be the Vols' new DC. Tracy Rocker and Chris Rumph are also expected to join the staff.

Pruitt's memorandum of understanding says he will earn a base pay of $275,000 per year over a six year contract, plus $3.525 million per year under various broadcast, endorsement and/or consultation contracts, for a total of $3.8 million per year.

That does not include either a monthly vehicle allowance or two quality vehicles, a one-time $35,000 moving allowance, and a housing allowance of $10,000 per month through June 2018.

It does also not include various incentives, including bonuses for winning the SEC Championship, appearances in bowl games or playoff games, high finishes in polls, coach of the year awards, and high academic progress.

Should the university terminate Pruitt before his contract is up, he would be owed $2.28 million for each year left on his contract. If Pruitt leaves, he would owe the university $6 million in the first year, $5 million in the second year, $4 million in the third year, $3 million in the fourth year, and $2 million in the fifth year.

Pruitt is the first UT head coach with Alabama ties since Bill Battle, who coached the Vols from 1970-1976. Battle later returned to Alabama to serve as the university's athletic director. 

 


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