Jeremy Pruitt was fired as the Tennessee Vols‘ head coach in early 2021 due to a recruiting scandal that rocked the program.
As a result of the scandal, Pruitt essentially became unemployable by a college program for the 2021 season.
The former Alabama defensive coordinator ended up joining the New York Giants’ staff as a defensive assistant last season (under Joe Judge, a former Alabama assistant).
Judge was fired after a 4-13 season. He was replaced by another former Alabama assistant in Brian Daboll, who worked with Pruitt in Tuscaloosa in 2017.
Pruitt, however, isn’t planning on coaching with the Giants in 2022. In fact, he’s not planning on coaching anywhere.
According to a recent appearance by Pruitt on the “Make Defense Great Again” podcast, the former Vols head coach is going to “take a sabbatical” from coaching in 2022.
There are rumblings that the NCAA could give Tennessee a letter of allegations in the next month, which would likely give some clarity into Pruitt’s ability to coach at the collegiate level in the future. If Pruitt isn’t hit with a show-cause ban, he could return to a college sideline in 2022. But for now, he’s planning on taking a break from coaching and spending time with family.
By the way, the discussion on the podcast with Pruitt was incredibly fascinating. It was over an hour of Pruitt discussing nothing but defensive coverages, strategies, and concepts.
Pruitt showed that he has a vast knowledge of defenses. And he’s excellent at explaining those concepts. There’s no doubt he has a great defensive mind and he’s a good teacher.
The biggest reason Pruitt failed at Tennessee had nothing to do with his football knowledge — he failed because he didn’t know how to run a program. Pruitt didn’t know how to manage a coaching staff and support staff.
Maybe he learns from his mistakes and gets another shot down the line. He’ll have to work his way back up the ladder, though, before another athletic director trusts him with the keys to the program.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports