Phil Fulmer, long wanting to coach again, and never really reconciled to the fact the game had passed him by, finally ended the most bizarre recent coaching search by tabbing 43-year old Jeremy Pruitt as the next Vols coach.
In picking a first-timer, Fulmer gets to play Bobby Lowder/Barry Alvarez and coach by proxy. Pruitt had earned his shot, no doubt, but this is a gamble of a hire on a man many thought didn’t quite have the skills as-yet to orchestrate a major program: particularly a program which has win-now expectations.
But, this was what he sold the Vols on:
Plenty of risk in the hire, but with Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee, expect…— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) December 7, 2017
* A defined vision
* A revamped S&C program
* A staff with lots of SEC ties
* An added emphasis on support personnel
* More physical practices
* Relentless recruiting
For Alabama, this means that Tosh Lupoi is all-but certain to be named full-time defensive coordinator. There is no word as to whether Pruitt will coach through the playoffs. Personally, I’d rather he leave today than have a month to poach players and other members of the Alabama staff. Kirby Smart’s departure, where he did much the same, and Lane Kiffin’s departure, where his head wasn’t in it, really soured me on long separations.
Anyway, we’ll know later today when Tennessee has its press conference.