When looking to fill out a staff for the first time, different head coaches will obviously value different things and experiences in assistant coaches.
For Jeremy Pruitt – a former high school coach himself with stops at Plainview HS (AL), Hoover HS (AL), and Fort Payne HS (AL) – it was no accident that of his ten assistant coaching hires, most of them got their start at the high school level.
Pruitt said 8 of the 10 coaches with him started off as a high school coach. Said it's important to know how to be a teacher on top of coaching. Pruitt coached at Plainview, Fort Payne and Hoover.
— WJOX 94.5 FM (@WJOX945) July 18, 2018
According to their Tennessee bios, there are actually three assistants without a high school coaching stop. Regardless of the exact figure, coaching at the high school level and being a great teacher is something Pruitt clearly values highly.
Based on their bios provided by the Vols, the hires Pruitt made without coaching experience at the high school level are his offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton, corners coach Terry Fair, and tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer.
The other eight members of the Vols staff have at least one coaching stop at the high school level; defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer (Tuscaloosa County HS, Spain Park HS, and Hoover HS), co-defensive coordinator / OLBs coach Chris Rumph (Calhoun County HS), special teams coordinator / safeties coach Charles Kelly (Central HS, Eufaula HS), offensive line coach Will Friend (Tuscaloosa Central HS), wide receivers coach David Johnson (John F Kennedy HS, O. Perry Walker HS, St. Augustine HS), defensive line coach Tracy Rocker (Auburn HS), and running backs coach Chris Weinke (IMG Academy).
Unrelated to the staff makeup, Pruitt shared this great story involving Kirby Smart and his wife going into labor while the two were working together.
WATCH: #Tennessee HC @CoachJPruitt tells hilarious story about relationship w/ @KirbySmartUGA. Pruitt was off field coach when Smart's wife Mary Beth was pregnant with twins and nearly went into labor while Kirby was out of town… LOL #PoweredByTheT #GoDawgs @FootballUGA pic.twitter.com/cztj9m4rpU
— Simone Eli (@SimoneEli_TV) July 18, 2018
Below are some more tidbits from Pruitt’s time at the podium at SEC Media Day.
Pruitt: “I don’t know if I’m the perfect fit” but he says he’s there now. Says he couldn’t have picked a better Athletics Director than Phillip Fulmer.
— WBIR Sports (@WBIRSports) July 18, 2018
Pruitt on Saban, Jimbo, Richt:
– Saban – Nobody's working harder, eat sleep breathe football
– JImbo – Competitor, hard-nosed
– Richt – (filibusters for PC answer) Well, there's more important things in life than football. One day they won't remember all those championships.
— #KirbStomp (@Hedges2Hardwood) July 18, 2018
Jeremy Pruitt: “Mark Richt taught me there’s more to life than football” #StRicht😇
— Landon Beamon (@LandonBeamon11) July 18, 2018
#Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt on Aaron Murray’s criticism: I don’t really know Aaron, but I had a lot of respect for him as a player. But I will say I was a kindergarten coach 15 years ago, and now I’m the head coach at Tennessee. That don’t happen if you don’t treat people well.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) July 18, 2018
Jeremy Pruitt at SEC Media Days: “The only thing I can access is the last six months. I was not here the last ten years.”
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) July 18, 2018