Robert Gillespie’s coaching career in Knoxville came to an abrupt end this week just days after officially being announced as a member of Tennessee’s 2018 coaching class. Judging by how quickly Jeremy Pruitt lured Chris Weinke away from Alabama, the move appears to have been set in motion for some time.

According to multiple reports, from both the Tennessee side (via Volquest) and the Alabama side (via Matt Zenitz of, the official hiring of Weinke to become Pruitt’s 10th assistant is imminent.

Weinke served as an offensive analyst last season with Alabama after he interviewed to become the offensive coordinator on Butch Jones’ last Tennessee staff. He has NFL experience, both on the field and on the sideline, and served as IMG Academy’s first head football coach. Weinke is also the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner following a stellar season for Florida State.

During a local speaking engagement Wednesday, AD Phillip Fulmer indicated Gillespie was not pleased to leave Tennessee’s coaching staff. Given his strong track record of coaching running backs in Knoxville, Pruitt has made a gamble in replacing him with Weinke.

Considering Weinke interviewed to become a member of Pruitt’s first Tennessee coaching staff earlier this offseason, UT’s coach must have a strong belief that the former QB can add significant value to the program heading into 2018.