Knoxville, Tennessee – The school announced Thursday that Tennessee, which wants to cement its commitment to coach Jeremy Pruitt and the direction he is taking on the program, has added two years to his contract and has rewarded him with an annual raise of $ 400,000.
Discussions about the Pruitt sweetening deal began in January but have been put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pruitt’s new deal extends into the 2025 season and will pay him $ 4.2 million annually, although he has chosen not to accept a $ 400,000 increase this year to help Tennessee meet the challenges all sports departments face during the pandemic.
“My family and I are grateful for the steadfast commitment made for us by the University of Tennessee,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We have worked hard to build our software the right way in a short period of time, and there is still a lot of work to do.”
Pruitt, 46, is entering his third season as a volunteer coach. He led Tennessee to six consecutive wins a year earlier, to seal the season. The Volunteers finished 8-5, including a win over Indiana at TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, after starting Season 1-4. Tennessee’s 5-3 record in the SEC last season was only the second time in the past 12 years that volunteers have finished achieving a winning record of playing conference. They were also 5-3 in 2015, the third season of Butch Jones as coach.
“I’m excited that this extension gives Jeremy the stand to continue building on the momentum and energy we have on our football program that came out of last season,” Sports Director Philip Vollmer said in a statement. “He’s made excellent progress only entering his third year and clearly realizing that there is still a lot of work to be done. This extension ensures that he continues his efforts to get our program back to tournament level and demonstrates our commitment to him, his staff, this is the team and future of the Tennessee Volunteers.”
No. 16 Tennessee opens its 2020 season on Saturday night in South Carolina.
Pruitt and his staff have made major breakthroughs in the recruitment path and put Tennessee on the right track for a highly-rated signature class. Volunteers are ranked third nationally in the latest ESPN Recruiting Rankings for the Class of 2021 after they were ranked 18th in 2020 and 11th in 2019.
Pruitt’s original contract when he was hired in December 2017 was a six-year contract worth $ 22.8 million. His new deal includes a bonus package in excess of $ 4.2 million that he is due to provide.
Pruitt is the fifth Tennessee coach since Vollmer was sacked at the end of the 2008 season.