Tennessee Vols special teams coordinator/linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer is close friends with UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
That friendship obviously factored into Sherrer’s decision to leave Georgia in late 2017 and become Pruitt’s defensive coordinator in Knoxville.
Sherrer’s decision to leave Georgia for Tennessee was a step up the coaching ladder, which is a step every football coach hopes to make (and continue to make).
But the decision Sherrer made this past season, to not seek other opportunities when Derrick Ansley was hired to become the Vols’ new defensive coordinator (essentially a “demotion for Sherrer), proved not only his loyalty to Pruitt, but also his commitment to Tennessee.
Sherrer likely could’ve found another defensive coordinator gig — maybe even at another SEC program. But simply advancing through the coaching ranks isn’t Sherrer’s main goal.
Sure, I have no doubt that Sherrer aspires to be a head coach one day. But for now, Sherrer is only focused on one thing — bringing championships to Rocky Top.
The Alabama native told reporters this week “we’re here to get this place the way it needs to be, to win championships and to do the things that we came here to do”.
It could be argued that Sherrer is just “saying the right things” after being bumped from defensive coordinator, but I truly believe he has a reverence for the University of Tennessee.
“This place is second to none, it’s always been that way, whether I was coaching somewhere else or I was coaching here”, Sherrer said during his media session on Thursday. He added “our fans show out in numbers”.
Sherrer’s attitude is a clear sign that Pruitt has changed the culture at Tennessee. At this point, all remnants of the Butch Jones era have been cleansed from UT. And that’s a good thing.
The Vols needed a fresh start. They needed a coach who could turn the program from a punchline to a contender.
Tennessee still has a long way to go before they’re a contender, but I think it’s obvious they’re not a joke anymore.
If you’re a Vols fan, it’s hard to not get excited by Sherrer’s proclamation that he’s in Knoxville to win championships. It might be something every coach at every program in the nation says, but Sherrer’s actions make his words carry a little more weight.
It’s a new era at Tennessee. And I think there will me a major difference in the product the Vols put on the field in 2019 thanks to coaches like Kevin Sherrer.
Featured images via 247Sports/ Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports