Tennessee introduced the 26th head football coach in the program’s 121-year history Thursday night inside the Peyton Manning Locker Room. That coach was, of course, Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama.
Prior to handing Coach Pruitt the mic, Chancellor Dr. Beverly Davenort and AD Phillip Fulmer spoke.
“(Coach Pruitt) told me he wanted to win championships, and I told him, make no bones about it, Tennessee expects you to.”
Fulmer on why he selected Pruitt:
His work ethic, coaching talent, recruiting ability, his athletes are all fantastic. He’s a great fit for our Tennessee Volunteer family. Part of four titles at two schools. He has learned his skill well.
I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level.
Pruitt’s opening comments:
- I’m honored and humbled to be the head coach at Tennessee. Grew up in north Alabama on the Tennessee River. We know all about Tennessee: Running thru the T, Smokey, Coach Neyland, Coach Dickey, Coach Majors, Coach Fulmer.
- There was a time and place when this university was feared among the SEC teams. My goal as the head football coach at Tennessee is to get us back to that point.
- Our goal is to be big, fast, dominating, aggressive, relentless football team that nobody in the SEC wants to play.
- How do we get there? We get there in recruiting. First, by recruiting the student-athletes on our team.
- What’s the role of everyone else? Positivity. From those who work here to the fans, boosters, former players. We all have to be positive, we all have to pull in the same direction.
- As far as my staff, No. 1 looking for good people, there’s no substitute for good people. Second, we need teachers.
- Recruiting, it’s the lifeblood of any organization. We are going to start in Knoxville and work our way out.
- My expectation is to win every game we play.
On the type of offense he will run:
We have to create balance. We have to be able to run it when we want to run it. Starts on the line of scrimmage. We have to create explosive plays in the passing game.
On the type of defense he will run:
We want an aggressive style that dictates what the defense does. Every inch will be challenged.
Q: What was your impression of Tennessee this season facing them?
I don’t look in the rearview mirror. I’m looking (forward) with our student-athletes and our guys are going to understand that.
Q: Do you plan on coaching for Alabama in the upcoming Playoff?
I’m all in on the University of Tennessee. Now, I also have a commitment to the kids at Alabama. Coach Saban has been wonderful to me. At the end of the dead period, I’m gonna go back and coach those kids.
Q: How quickly will you go about building your staff?
We are going to take our time. Make sure we get the right guys. Not talking any names but that’s what we are going to do.
Q: How involved will you be on the defensive side of the ball?
I think it’s important as a head coach that you are involved in everything. My name will be on this program, everything goes through me.
Q: What kind of defense will you play? Will you transition to the 3-4?
I think it’s important you play the best personnel you have.
Q: Can this program get back to winning championships?
I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think so.