UT Vols introduce Jeremy Pruitt as next head football coach

KNOXVILLE, TN (WJHL/AP) –  Tennessee has hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as its head coach, capping a tumultuous search that cost an athletic director his job as the Volunteers attempt to recover from one of their most disappointing seasons.

University of Tennessee’s Chancellor Beverly Davenport and Director of Athletics Phil Fulmer will hold a press conference Thursday at 6:05 p.m. ET in the Peyton Manning Locker Room to introduce Jeremy Pruitt as Tennessee’s next head football coach.

“Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria,” Fulmer said in a statement released on Thursday.  “I’m certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee’s caliber. He’s driven to win at the highest level. He will honor our university’s values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes…I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level.”

Pruitt is the 26th head coach in Tennessee football history.

Pruitt’s hiring comes six days after former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer was named athletic director and put in charge of the coaching search. Fulmer took over for John Currie, who was suspended just eight months into the job as Tennessee investigates whether it can fire him for cause.

Pruitt replaces Butch Jones, who was fired Nov. 12 after going 34-27 overall and 14-24 in Southeastern Conference competition in five seasons. Tennessee went 4-8 this season and set a school record for losses.

News Channel 11 will live stream the event right here on WJHL.com. We’ll post more details as soon as they become available.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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