Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman and outgoing Athletics Director Phil Fulmer gave a press conference today after they announced that they are firing Jeremy Pruitt for cause over alleged recruiting violations. Among the notable moments from the press conference:
- Nine additional football staff members were fired by Tennessee relating to this investigation. These included tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer and outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton
- Kevin Steele, who played at Tennessee and started his coaching career there about 40 years ago, will be the acting head coach. Steele was most recently the defensive coordinator at Auburn.
Chancellor Plowman went out of her way to praise Fulmer in this press conference for his service to Tennessee and to say that he had know knowledge of rule-breaking. Fulmer said that in light of these issues with Pruitt he felt it best to step aside so that the new coach could have continuity with the new Athletic Director and they would be on the same page.
Here is Tennessee’s termination letter to Pruitt:
Tennessee is firing Jeremy Pruitt for cause, effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/zNpLZsmky4
— David Ubben (@davidubben) January 18, 2021
The questions from here become whether the NCAA will levy any penalties on Tennessee after they’ve conducted their own investigation and fired the coach and nine subordinates, and if Tennessee will have their new Athletic Director quickly enough to hire a coach for next season — or if Steele will still have the interim tag through next Fall.