Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has received plenty of praise from coaches all across the college football landscape. Coaches like Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, and Kirby Smart — coaches who all coached alongside Pruitt at his various stops — have had nothing but good things to say about UT’s new man in charge. Even the son of Robert Neyland, the legendary Tennessee head coach, thinks Pruitt is the right man for the job at UT.
Now another big name in college football has chimed in about Pruitt, and he, just like the others, thinks Pruitt was a good hire for Tennessee.
Bobby Bowden coached college football for over four decades. He finished his coaching career with 377 career victories, the second-most among Division I head coaches. He won two national titles at Florida State and won 12 conference championships as head coach of the Seminoles as well. He knows a thing or two about coaching at a high level, and he thinks Jeremy Pruitt was a steal for the Vols.
According to Chris Low of ESPN, Bowden said Pruitt is “a hidden jewel” in the coaching world and that he will “do the best” of all the new coaches coming up.
Bobby Bowden unsolicited told me he’s very high on @CoachJPruitt. “Out of all these new coaches coming up, I have a feeling (Pruitt) is going to do the best. Nobody’s expecting anything out of Tennessee, and he’s such a good coach. I think he’s a hidden jewel, boy. I really do.”
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) August 9, 2018
Bowden never coached with Pruitt, but it’s likely he heard about him and kept up with him during Pruitt’s one year at Florida State in 2013. Bowden’s last year at Florida State was in 2009, but he’s still a prominent figure in Seminole football.
Other head coaches who became first-time FBS head coaches along with Pruitt this past offseason include Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State, Billy Napier at Louisiana, Jonathan Smith at Oregon State, Josh Heupel at UCF, Mike Bloomgren at Rice, and Sean Lewis at Kent State. Pruitt was one of five coaches to be named the new head coach of an SEC school this offseason as well, joining the aforementioned Moorhead, Florida’s Dan Mullen, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, and Arkansas’s Chad Morris.
Pruitt has yet to coach his first game as Tennessee’s head coach, but he’s’ garnered a lot of praise from coaches around college football. Bowden, probably more than any other head coach alive, knows what a winning program and elite head coach looks like. His Florida State teams won 10 or more games 18 of the 34 seasons he was their head coach, including 14 straight seasons of 10 or more victories from 1987 through 2000. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 while still serving as head coach of the Seminoles.
Not only did Bowden himself have massive success at Florida State, but he has ties to some highly successful coaches during his time in college football too. Bowden’s coaching tree includes Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill, and his sons Terry and Tommy Bowden.
Time will tell if Bowden’s analysis of Pruitt comes true, but his endorsement is a big one for the Vols’ first-year head coach.