Mon, 01 Mar 2021

Reports: Tennessee to fire coach Jeremy Pruitt

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2021, 03:55 GMT+10

Tennessee will fire football coach Jeremy Pruitt, according to multiple reports Monday.

His dismissal will come amid an investigation into potential recruiting violations. Earlier this month, Tennessee put hiring on hold in the program and brought in prominent outside attorneys Michael Glazier and Kyle Skillman to assist in the investigation about alleged violations, including improper benefits.

There were also reports that athletic director Phillip Fulmer's job is in jeopardy.

Fulmer hired Pruitt, who was the defensive coordinator at Alabama, in 2017. In three seasons under Pruitt, the Volunteers are 16-19, including 3-7 in 2020.

The investigation into the program began in November, with one of the focuses being the recruitment of Amarius Mims, a five-star tackle in the Class of 2021 who signed with Georgia, ESPN reported earlier this month. The outlet also said that tailback Eric Gray didn't play in the Volunteers' season finale against Texas AM because of the investigation.

Gray led the team with 772 rushing yards.

The investigation could provide ammunition for Tennessee to fire Pruitt with cause and either not pay his buyout or settle for a lesser amount. Fulmer gave Pruitt a contract extension and raise in September that increased his average annual salary to $4.2 million and kept him with the Volunteers through the 2025 season, saying at the time that the program had made "excellent progress" under Pruitt.

The Knoxville News Sentinel said Pruitt is owed a buyout of about $12.8 million. Firing his staff would cost an additional $6.2 million.

--Field Level Media

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