The Vols were willing to pay big money for a successful power-5 coach (they made an offer to Gundy that would've made him one of the highest paid coaches in college football), but money wasn't enough to entice any of them to come rebuild Tennessee. From naming his youngest son after two Tide linebackers - Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson - to serving as a father figure for a lot of players on this year's team, Saban and company did not want to see Pruitt accept a head coach position at Tennessee yet business is business.
Last season, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin accepted the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic in December and attempted to stay on Alabama's staff through the playoff, but it didn't end well. In 2013, the Rainsville, Alabama native helped guide Florida State to a national championship behind the country's third-ranked defense.
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It was reported earlier today that Pruitt added his first staff member in Colorado State's Will Friend. He also worked at Alabama as an assistant coach from 2007-2012.
Then Tennessee turned to Washington State head football coach Mike Leach, who reportedly had a great meeting with then Tennessee athletic director John Currie, the deal was blown off as Currie was removed from his position and Phil Fulmer took over the athletic director position as well as the football coaching search on December 1.
"Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria", Fulmer said in a news release. After three years in that role, Pruitt became Alabama's defensive backs coach, reporting directly under Smart. Currie also flirted with Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm and N.C. State's Dave Doeren and Washington State's Mike Leach before being replaced by Fulmer. This marks Tennessee's fourth coaching search since Fulmer was forced out in 2008. Pruitt was a 2013 finalist for the Broyles Award.