Former Georgia Coach Would “Recommend Pruitt to Any Program in the Country”

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Two former Georgia players stirred the pot this past week with their comments about current Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt. Both Aaron Murray, a former UGA quarterback, and David Pollack, a former Bulldog linebacker, commented on Pruitt’s ability to be a head coach and his time at Georgia. Murray said he didn’t believe Pruitt had the personality and temperament to be a head coach while Pollack hinted at things that happened behind the scenes during Pruitt’s time as Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015.

    But not every former Georgia person has negative opinions of Pruitt.

    Jim Donnan was Georgia’s head football coach from 1996 to 2000 and is now a College Football Hall of Fame member. He was a guest on The Paul Finebaum Show on Friday and shared an interesting anecdote about his involvement in Tennessee’s hiring of Pruitt as head coach.

    According to Donnan, he recommended Pruitt to Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer. And he said that he stands by that recommendation and would “recommend him to any football program in the country.”

    Donnan never coached with Pruitt, but he clearly thinks highly of the Vols’ new head coach. Donnan was a successful assistant and head coach at various stops during his coaching career. He served as Marshall’s head coach from 1990 through 1995 and went 64-21 as their head coach and won the 1992 Division I-AA Championship. He took Marshall to four Division I-AA Championship game appearances in six seasons. He was hired as Georgia’s head coach in 1996 and went 40-19 as the Bulldogs head coach before being fired after the 2000 season by UGA President Michael Adams despite AD Vince Dooley protesting the move.

    Georgia would go on to hire Mark Richt after the firing of Donnan. Both Pollack and Murray, the two former Georgia players mentioned above, played under Richt. Neither played at Georgia when Pruitt coached there.

    Other coaches who did coach with Pruitt — Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Georgia’s Kirby Smart — had nothing but positive things to say about Pruitt’s ability to coach during SEC Media Days last week. And it’s apparent that Donnan is on their side as well.