In early December, when the Tennessee Vols first started their search for a new offensive coordinator, bringing then Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney back to Knoxville seemed like a pipe dream.

But fast forward a couple of months and Chaney is back on Rocky Top, ready to lead a Volunteers offense that was among the nation’s worst last season.

Swiping Chaney from Georgia, where he led the Bulldogs to the No. 14 scoring offense in the nation in 2018 at 37.9 points per game, was immediately viewed as a major win for Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols. Chaney is a well regarded play caller who knows what it takes to be successful at Tennessee (Chaney, who called plays at UT from 2009-12, helped the Vols to one of their most prolific offensive seasons in program history in 2012).

So why did Chaney elect to leave an established program in Athens for a rebuild project in Knoxville?

Well, according to Chaney it “wasn’t a hard decision at all”.

Chaney, speaking to a gathered crowd at Tennessee’s recruiting celebration in Nashville on Thursday night, added “Coach Pruitt just had to call me and I’m thrilled he did”.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Chaney’s daughter is a senior at Tennessee, which inspired him to drop this gem of a quote.

(Unfortunately, we won’t get to experience many more quotes like that from Chaney, since Pruitt rarely allows his assistants to speak to the media.)

Just because Chaney’s daughter attends Tennessee and his family loves the area didn’t make it a foregone conclusion that the former UT assistant would return to Knoxville.

Chaney would’ve stayed in Georgia if he didn’t believe in Pruitt and what he’s building at Tennessee. Let’s put it this way — had Butch Jones called Chaney, he probably would’ve let it go to voicemail.

Pruitt has managed to create a lot of momentum for the Vols heading into the 2019 season. That’s impressive considering the Vols finished 5-7 and dropped their final two games of the season after delivering lackluster performances on the field.

Tennessee still has a long ways to go, but Pruitt is making all the right decisions as the Vols try to return to greatness.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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