Detractors of the Tennessee Vols like to point out that recently hired head coach Jeremy Pruitt never had any offers to be a head coach before UT hired him.
While we don’t know exactly what Pruitt has or hasn’t been offered over the years, we know he was linked to various jobs before he replaced Butch Jones at Tennessee.
Pruitt was reportedly a candidate for the South Carolina job a few years ago, before the Gamecocks hired Will Muschamp. He was also a candidate for the Mississippi State job after Dan Mullen left for Florida.
By the time Pruitt interviewed for Mississippi State, he was a candidate at Tennessee. It’s an easy choice to pick Tennessee, even with their rough last ten years, over Mississippi State.
These interviews/reports lead credence to Jimbo Fisher, Pruitt’s former boss at Florida State, telling reporters at SEC Media Days that Pruitt could have been a head coach a “long time ago”.
According to a recent report from The Athletic, Pruitt possibly could’ve been a head coach in the SEC in 2014. But he told Vanderbilt no thanks when the Commodores were interested in him to replace James Franklin.
Jeremy Pruitt basically told Vanderbilt thanks but no thanks pic.twitter.com/AoGijCx0Fy
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) August 6, 2018
Vanderbilt eventually hired Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason to replace Franklin.
I’m not surprised that Pruitt turned down Vanderbilt. I think it’s pretty obvious that despite possessing the strong desire to be a head coach, Pruitt wasn’t going to take the first thing that came along. He likely knew that winning championships isn’t something that’s going to happen at Vanderbilt.
And maybe it won’t happen for him at Tennessee. No one knows.
But it’s at least possible at Tennessee.
Which is why Pruitt bided his time and waited for the perfect opportunity to present itself.
Vol fans should feel pretty good that Pruitt viewed Tennessee as the “perfect opportunity”.
Featured image via Times Free Press