Jeremy Pruitt gives Tennessee football fans the last laugh at the national media

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the inside of Neyland Stadium during a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the inside of Neyland Stadium during a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images) /

Tennessee football’s coaching search started with John Currie and Greg Schiano. It ended with Phillip Fulmer and Jeremy Pruitt. The Volunteers fans reunite.

Related Story: 5 positives to hiring Jeremy Pruitt as head coach

It took 26 days after the firing of Butch Jones. But Tennessee football’s coaching search has come to an end. Its new head coach is former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

I’ve been quiet through most of this coaching search because in all honesty, this was one of the most tiresome times for Knoxville journalists. Fans too, don’t get me wrong. There was something new happening every day.

Brief Recap

Greg Schiano, the man expected to take the vacant position a couple of weeks back, lost the offer when fans revolted. AD (at that time) John Currie decided in the best interest of the program to walk away from the deal. Most major media outlets including ESPN and those alike blamed Tennessee football fans for such a revolt saying it was a bad look for the program.

A bad look for the program is writing “Schiano covered up child rape” on the rock. I disagree with that.

However, fans voicing their opinion after hiring another mediocre (68-67) coach to a school with funds for the next “Nick Saban” is a completely different scenario.

Vols fans were fully in their right to voice their displeasure. It all really had very little to do with the Sandusky situation. It wasn’t until politicians got involved that that whole accusation became amplified.

Thereafter, Mike Gundy said no, Dave Doeren said no, and Jeff Brohm fell through. To show how out of touch the national press was with Knoxville, analyst Danny Kanell trolled the Vols when Dave Doeren rejected them.

Kanell, of course, conveniently left out the fact that Tennessee football fans were ready to revolt on Twitter and protest once again if the Vols hired Doeren. In fact, Vol Twitter may have been what killed the Doeren hire.

Anyway, Mike Leach finally sealed a deal with Currie in Los Angeles. Even that hire would have given Vols fans the last laugh considering how much better he is than Schiano or Doeren. However, Currie went against the wishes of Davenport to return to Knoxville prior to the Leach interview and was suspended. Ergo, the Leach deal fell through.

Then, one of the most amazing things happened. Phillip Fulmer came to the rescue. While the rest of the SEC is calling the university toxic (and it was), Fulmer was working diligently to find the best fit for Tennessee football.

John Currie had his chance, botched it, and Phil came in full force.

The reaction has been astounding.

Despite the weird rumors of Fulmer sabotaging the coaching search to become AD, there’s no doubt that he made a better hire than Schiano. Tennessee football fans have been unified once again. He had the better candidates all day long: Les Miles, Kevin Steele, Brent Venables, Jeremy Pruitt and Chad Morris.

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Every single candidate possesses an innate ability to build a staff and recruit. Fulmer took his time, he conducted plenty of interviews and made the decision he felt was best. That decision was Jeremy Pruitt. Vols fans (for the most part) have been incredibly welcoming and excited.

Pruitt’s desire to finish his work at Alabama in the College Foorball Playoff should tell you something about his loyalty. Not one player of his has ever had anything negative to say about his style. Saban was confident enough in his abilities to hire him directly after Kirby Smart left for Georgia, no interviews needed.

There are way too many positives to worry about the negative. He’s an aggressive recruiter, defensive wiz and has plenty of excellent connections to build a dangerous staff. Not to mention, look at those stats.

As once favored candidate Jon Gruden once said, “stop living in your worries and start living in your hopes.”

The best things for Tennessee fans at this point is to support this hire. How one can’t support it is confusing and close to blatant ignorance. I understand people can have concerns. I understand the rest of the SEC is still chuckling at UT. Ride out the transition year and come back ready for a revolution in 2019.

What’s clear is that the Vols got a much better hire than Greg Schiano. So national analysts trolling the program may want to come back and explain why fans were wrong for nixing the deal. For now, Tennessee football fans had the last laugh.