Just days after Tennessee officially announced Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching staff had been finalized, a change has been made.
According to a report from Tennessee’s Rivals.com affiliate site, running backs coach Robert Gillespie and the Vols have agreed to part ways. No reason has been given for the departure, and Pruitt does not have a replacement immediately on hand. But Pruitt is expected to already be on the search for a new running backs coach.
Gillespie joined Tennessee in 2013 after, ironically enough, Jay Graham left Butch Jones’ initial coaching staff after agreeing to stay on from Derek Dooley’s staff. Gillespie served as the Vols’ running backs coach for the last five years, and he had also been the recruiting coordinator for the Vols since 2015.
During his time at Tennessee, Gillespie helped coach two running backs to 1,000 yard seasons (Rajion Neal, Jalen Hurd) and coached Alvin Kamara to a third-round draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Kamara was also just awarded the 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year. Running back John Kelly is expected to join Kamara in the NFL in the upcoming 2018 draft.
There are no reports indicating where Gillespie might be headed as of yet. But as mentioned above, something extremely similar happened to Butch Jones when he took over as head coach. Gillespie stayed on through National Signing Day, but he will not be on the field for the Vols once spring practice starts.
With the departure of Gillespie, no assistant coach remains from Butch Jones’ staff on Pruitt’s new Tennessee staff.