Tennessee Fires Football Coach Jeremy Pruitt Following Investigation Within Program

Jeremy Pruitt is no longer the football coach for the Tennessee Volunteers. On Monday, the school fired Pruitt after a weeklong investigation into potential recruiting violations within the program. Tennessee officials sent a letter to Pruitt and concluded that "the conduct by at least two assistant coaches and several recruiting staff members are likely to lead to an NCAA finding of Level I and/or Level II violations of one or more Governing Athletic Rules. The University also has concluded that these likely findings were the result of either your material neglect or lack of reasonable preventive compliance measures."

Pruitt was suspended with pay before his contract was terminated on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET. Tennessee also fired assistant coaches Brian Niedermeyer and Shelton Felton, four members of the on-campus football recruiting staff, the director of football player personnel and a football analyst/quality control coach, as ESPN reported. Also, former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer plans to retire from the athletic department after leading it for more than three years. His retirement is unrelated to the investigation, according to school chancellor Donde Plowman.

"Beginning immediately, you are suspended with pay pending the effective date of your termination," the letter states, as 247Sports reported. "You are to relinquish all University property (including University issued keys, phones, and access cards) in your possession to Tyler Johnson in accordance with Section 12.8 of your Agreement, and you are to leave the building immediately. You are directed not to contact, directly or indirectly, current student athletes, prospective student athletes, or employees of the athletics department prior to the effective date of your termination."

Pruitt was hired as Tennessee's coach in 2018 after spending two seasons as Alabama's defensive coordinator. In his three seasons, Pruitt led the Vols to 16 wins, 19 losses and one bowl appearance. His best season was in 2019 when Tennessee finished 8-5 and a Gator Bowl victory. As defensive coordinator for Alabama, Pruitt helped the team win the national championship in 2017.

In 2014, Pruitt became the defensive coordinator for Georgia. He was there for two seasons before joining Alabama. However, Pruitt first joined Alabama in 2007 as the Director of Player Development. He was with the Crimson Tide for six seasons and helped the team win three national titles. He won another national championship in 2013 when he became the defensive coordinator for Florida State.