Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t the one to inform his coaching staff that the school had parted ways with him, according to multiple reports.

The assistants learned of the news from an administrative assistant, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and Fox Sports. Meanwhile, Trey Wallace of Fox Sports Knoxville reported that some Tennessee staffers found out about the firing via social media.

The future of the coaching staff is unclear as Tennessee will reportedly name Kevin Steele the interim head coach of the football program, according to Football Scoop. The former Auburn defensive coordinator was hired last week.

Pruitt was fired after three seasons at Tennessee where he arrived as one of the best defensive coordinators in the country following stints at Alabama (2016-17, 2007-12), Georgia (2014-15), and Florida State (2013).

About four months ago, Tennessee gave Pruitt a contract extension that included a raise beginning this year and an increased buyout. He was under contract through Jan. 31, 2026.

Pruitt was 16-19 on Rocky Top, including a 3-7 mark in 2020 against a conference-only schedule.

Tennessee was picked to play in the Liberty Bowl this year but did not make it due to COVID issues within the program. Tennessee’s lone bowl appearance during the Pruitt era was a Gator Bowl win over Indiana at the end of the 2019 season.