Derek Dooley had the accent to be the head coach of the Tennessee Vols.
And Butch Jones had the marketing abilities to lead UT’s storied football program.
But neither of them were truly “good fits” in Knoxville.
Jeremy Pruitt, however, is an ideal fit (despite his Alabama roots) on Rocky Top.
That’s because Pruitt embodies Tennessee football. He has the accent, the football smarts and the demeanor that fits perfectly at UT (Jones’ midwest accent never played well in Knoxville).
It’s not an act for Pruitt, either. This is truly who he is as a head coach and, more importantly, as a person.
An example of that came from former Vols assistant coach Dough Mathews on Wednesday. Matthews, during an interview with The Midday 180 in Nashville, told a brief story about Pruitt handing out his personal cell phone number to some high school coaches.
Coach Doug Mathews: “Coach Pruitt was at a High School coaching clinic last night & gave all coaches his personal cell number & told them to contact him if they know of any prospects. ‘I may not answer the call, but I’ll definitely text you back.’ said Pruitt. Very cool of him.”
— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) April 17, 2019
That might not seem like a big deal, but it just shows that Pruitt is as far from “pretentious” as a coach can get.
Pruitt probably won’t find any “hidden gems” because he handed his personal cell phone number out to some high school coaches (not in this day and age where every halfway decent player has a highlight video), but his small gesture could help him win some recruiting battles down the road.
However, considering what we know about Pruitt’s personality, he really does seem like just another coach who sees himself as equal to the high school coaches that helped shape his career.
And that’s why he’s a perfect fit at Tennessee.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports