Thu, 25 Feb 2021

Reports: Tennessee fires coach Jeremy Pruitt

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2021, 04:19 GMT+10

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

His dismissal comes 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.

Athletic director Phillip Fulmer also will retire when his replacement is hired, according to the reports. Fulmer was the football coach from 1993 to 2008 and led the Volunteers to a 13-0 record and their most recent national championship in 1998.

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

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Pruitt was fired for cause, which would allow Tennessee to not pay his buyout or settle on a lesser amount. The school 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 newspaper said Pruitt is owed a buyout of about $12.8 million. Firing his staff would cost an additional $6.2 million.

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.

--Field Level Media

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