Report: Alabama has reached out to Jeremy Pruitt as DC search continues

Jeremy Pruitt Nick Saban
Former Tennessee HC Jeremy Pruitt with Alabama HC Nick Saban. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has the difficult task of replacing his two coordinators this offseason.

The Crimson Tide most recently lost offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien after the 53-year-old took the same position with the New England Patriots in late January.

Prior to that, however, Alabama had already lost its defense coordinator, Pete Golding, to the same position at Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Staff.

According to ESPN, “Golding’s decision to leave Alabama was his own and he wasn’t being evicted, instead he felt it was what was best for him and his family.”

As Saban and the Alabama program look for a new defensive player, a familiar name — for both Alabama and Tennessee — emerges.

According to a new report by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and sources Monday night, “Alabama coach Nick Saban has contacted former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt regarding the vacancy of the Crimson Tide’s defense coordinator position.”

Dodd’s report says it is “believed” that no offer was made at this time as the tide continues to figure out which direction they want to go.

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However, there’s a lot that even flows into the conversation about hiring Pruitt.

SEC rules state that any coach whose name is associated with Level I, II, or III violations must go through a consultation process directly with the Office of the Commissioner prior to hiring that individual.

In July 2022, Tennessee and former coach Jeremy Pruitt were hit by 18 Level I violations from their time together, which is the most serious violation issued by the NCAA.

To put it in layman’s terms, Pruitt and Saban would need to meet with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey if things go that way.

After three years and a 16-19 overall Tennessee coaching record, Jeremy Pruitt and nine other coaches and staff were fired from the University of Tennessee on January 18, 2021.

Then, just months later, on March 10, 2021, Pruitt was hired as a senior defensive analyst for the New York Giants. Pruitt was not retained on the staff after that season and has not been in the college or professional coaching game since.

According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, “Sources indicate that Pruitt has a strong chance of being hired by The Tide as the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation.”

Still, it is not surprising that Pruitt and Saban are debating this position again. The former Tennessee head coach is a former Alabama player and has coached Tide’s staff three times.

Pruitt began his coaching career during the 1997 season as a graduate assistant at Alabama. While transitioning to high school after that first season, the Rainsville, Alabama, native returned to The Tide from 2007-2009 as director of player development. Pruitt then became the Tide’s defensive backs coach from 2010-12 before moving to Florida State in 2013 as defensive coordinator.

After brief stints at Florida State and Georgia, Pruitt returned to Alabama in 2016-17 to become Saban’s defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. That lasted two seasons until he was hired as Tennessee’s head coach from 2018-2020.

Jeremy Pruitt is a five-time national championship winner and owns four titles with Alabama (2009, 2011, 2012, 2017) and one with Florida State (2013).