Jeremy Pruitt Out at Tennessee, AD Phil Fulmer Retires
It was announced Monday morning that Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been fired “for cause” after an internal investigation found alleged NCAA violations within the program, as reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Supports. Pruitt finished his tenure in Knoxville with a 16-19 overall record.
Since Pruitt took the reigns of the Volunteers’ football team in 2018, Tennessee has struggled. Pruitt’s first season featured both highs and lows when Tennessee managed to take down two ranked opponents- No. 21 Auburn and No. 12 Kentucky. Still, U.T. finished with a record of 5-7. Their conference record of 2-6 resulted in a last-place finish in the SEC East.
2019 was better for Pruitt and Tennesee. Despite a tough season-opening loss to Georgia State and a double-overtime loss to BYU, the Volunteers found a way to win eight games, including ending the season on a six-game win streak. Pruitt’s Vols ended the year on a high note- a Gator Bowl victory over Indiana that was the first bowl win for U.T. since 2016.
Unfortunately for Pruitt, Tennessee nose-dived in 2020. The first two weeks of the season featured wins against South Carolina and Missouri. The Vols then went on a six-game losing streak where their closest game was decided by 11 points. A Week Nine victory over Vanderbilt was the team’s last success of the year.
In addition to Pruitt’s firing, Tennessee athletics director Philip Fulmer will be retiring from his position. While the Pruitt firing is immediate, Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News is reporting that Fulmer will remain in his position until his replacement is hired because Fulmer wants his successor to choose the next football coach.
Later in his story, Toppmeyer clarified that Fulmer’s retirement was his choice and not tied to the investigation of NCAA violations.
Even before his firing, it was rumored that Pruitt, a former defensive coordinator for Alabama, was on a shortlist of candidates that could potentially be replacing current defensive coordinator Pete Golding, whether he accepted a job elsewhere or be let go.