UT fans, players wait anxiously for new head football coach

Fans say they're anxiously waiting for UT Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer to name a new head football coach. (Image: WTVC){ }


The Vols reportedly have a new head coach: Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has accepted the head coach job, according to Knoxville sports radio station WNML.

Longtime Knoxville radio reporter Jimmy Hyams of WNML says that Pruitt accepted the job, even as details are still being ironed out.

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It's a big guessing game as UT fans wait for a new head football coach. The university fired its former head coach a little less than a month ago, and after many recent ups and downs, fans say they're ready for a new start. Several reports, including one from ESPN, say Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer interviewed three top contenders: Auburn's Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele, UGA's Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker and Alabama's Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Joey Cave plays on UT football's offensive line and says he knows what he wants in his next coach.

"Just overall really good guy," said Joey Cave. "Knows defense very well cause that's what it takes to play in this league and is crafty with offense. We know the right coach will come. We're just waiting patiently for it."

Some of the names on the short list to lead the big orange come with mixed emotions for UT alum Davis Porcari.

"Our options are thin and they're low and Pruitt comes from a top tier program," said Dave Porcari, UT Alum. "He should know what he's doing coming from Alabama. As much as I don't like Saban and Alabama, he's probably got the best experience."

Still, Porcari says he would have rather seen someone with more of a reputation.

"We've learned our lesson with Butch," said Porcari. "He was a low profile one and wanted to build our program. And then you saw how that ended."

Other fans, like season ticket holder Bill Bright, say they'd prefer Kevin Steele as head coach.

"I like them all especially Kevin Steele," said Bill Bright. "He played football here and I've heard from different players that played with him that said that he is nothing but solid football."

Kevin Steele played for Tennessee in the late 70's and was the football team's graduate assistant in the 80's. Bright doesn't mind that Fulmer isn't going after bigger names.

"A lot of these defensive coordinators have turned out to be decent head coaches, good coaches," said Bill Bright. "I'm not bad for a person like that starting here."

Like many others, Bright is just tired of waiting for an announcement.

"I'm anxious," said Bright." But whatever Phil Fulmer does I feel that's the right way to go. I've got my trust in faith right there in football and Phil Fulmer."