Sources: Tennessee fires head coach Jeremy Pruitt, AD Fulmer to retire

Regional News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee has fired head football coach Jeremy Pruitt, sources have confirmed to WATE 6 On Your Side.

Sources have also confirmed Phillip Fulmer will retire from his role after leading the athletic department for the last three years.

Tennessee football will hold a press conference Monday at 3 p.m. to discuss leadership changes with Chancellor Donde Plowman, University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd, and Phillip Fulmer.

Tennessee has also fired outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton and inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer.

A look at Jeremy Pruitt’s tenure at the University of Tennessee

Jeremy Pruitt was hired in December 2017 to become the 26th coach of the Vols. He replaced Butch Jones who was let go near the end of his fifth season at UT. Pruitt was the defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama before taking the UT job.

Athletic director John Currie was also replaced at the time by national championship-winning coach Phillip Fulmer following a tumultuous coaching search.

Pruitt came to UT after collecting five national championships as an assistant and was considered one of the nation’s top defensive coordinators due to his successes at Alabama (2016-17, 2007-12), Georgia (2014-15), and Florida State (2013).

In his first season with the Vols, Pruitt led them to a 5-7 record (2-6 in the Southeastern Conference) and did not make a bowl game. However, the Vols did have two significant wins over No. 11 Kentucky and No. 21 Auburn.

In his second season, the Vols started the year 1-4, and looked like they were trending downward. The team would turnaround as Pruitt and the Vols ended the year 8-5 and third in the SEC East after a 5-3 conference record. The Vols also won the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in dramatic fashion, beating the Indiana Hoosiers 23-22.

In Pruitt’s third and final season, during a year with COVID-19 restrictions and issues, he led the Vols to a 3-7 record. All games were against SEC opponents.

The Vols did accept a bid to face off against West Virginia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, but had to pull out due to multiple players and coaches testing positive for COVID-19.

In September, University of Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer announced Pruitt had agreed to a contract extension through the 2025 season. The extension terms include compensation of $3.8 million in 2020, with an increase to $4.2 million starting in 2021.

Pruitt by the numbers

  • 16-19 overall record
  • 16 of 19 losses were by double digits
  • 0-9 versus Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
  • 1-0 in bowl games

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