Tennessee and running backs coach Robert Gillespie parted ways on Tuesday in a bit of a surprising move. And by late Wednesday night, it appears the Vols have found his replacement.
According to a report from 247Sports, Pruitt has found his new running backs coach in Chris Weinke. He was rumored to be joining Pruitt’s staff back when Pruitt was first hired as head coach at Tennessee, but that move was never made.
Now, however, it appears Weinke will actually be joining Pruitt’s staff after all.
Weinke won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback for Florida State in 2000 and led them to a BCS National Title in 1999 as well. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 draft and spent seven seasons on NFL rosters. After his time in the NFL, Weinke went on to become the head coach at the prestigious IMG Academy and spent five seasons there (2010-14). He then left IMG Academy to be the quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams for two seasons, and he was an offensive assistant for Alabama this past season.
Though Weinke has never played nor coached the running back position, he’s getting a shot to coach them at Tennessee. There are coaches on the roster with experience coaching the position, however, so Weinke will have people around him to help if he needs it. Wide receivers coach David Johnson was a running backs coach before Memphis hired him to be their wide receivers coach.
One of the biggest appeals for Weinke is his ties to IMG Academy. According to the 247Sports rankings, IMG Academy had six players ranked inside the top 100 overall players in the country in the 2018 recruiting cycle, and that includes five-star and No. 3 overall player Xavier Thomas.
While at IMG Academy, Weinke coached players like Bo Scarbrough, Deondre Francois, and others.
Tennessee has not officially announced the hire yet, but we will update you as soon as Weinke’s hire is made official.