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Fulmer: “Coach Pruitt Meets All Criteria”

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It’s finally official.

The University of Tennessee athletic department hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Thursday afternoon. Athletic director Phillip Fulmer and chancellor Beverly Davenport will address the media alongside Pruitt at 6:05 ET today. We will have liver coverage of the press conference as well.

This is the first big hire for Fulmer as Tennessee’s AD. He’s confident that Pruitt has what it takes to lead the Vols’ football program.

“Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria” Fulmer said.

Through a long and arduous search, the Vols have had many coaches tell them “no.” But in his opening comments as athletic director over the weekend, Fulmer assured fans and media that Tennessee was still a destination job.

In the end, he found a coach who would finally say yes.

“I’m certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee’s caliber,” Fulmer added. “He’s driven to win at the highest level. He will honor our university’s values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes.”

Pruitt has never been a head coach. But he knows how to win in the SEC.

He has been on staff for two national championships at Alabama. He was also Florida State’s defensive coordinator for the Seminoles’ national title in 2013.

Pruitt is a two-time finalist of the Broyles Award, which is annually given to the nation’s top assistant. In 2012, he was named the top recruiter in college football by 247sports.

Fulmer has seen Tennessee at its best. And despite the declining public image during this difficult month, he thinks Pruitt has what it takes to lead the Vols back to a championship level

“I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level,” Fulmer said.

Rocky Top Insider will have LIVE coverage of Pruitt’s introductory press conference on Facebook and Periscope at 6:05 ET. Following the conclusion of his comments, managing editor Nathanael Rutherford will join staff writer Will Boling for a Facebook Live and Periscope reaction show.

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