WATCH LIVE: UT officials welcome new head football coach Jeremy Pruitt to Rocky Top

UT officials welcome new head football coach Jeremy Pruitt to Rocky Top (FOX 17 News)

The University of Tennessee ended its weeks-long search for a head football coach by hiring former Alabama Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Thursday.

Watch the full news conference below:

Jeremy Pruitt is known as one of the top recruiters in the SEC and has assisted to many national championship teams, according to ESPN.

In a statement from new UT Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer, he thinks Pruitt checks all the boxes when it comes to desired qualities in a head football coach.

"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" UT Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said. "I'm certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee's caliber. He's driven to win at the highest level. He will honor our university's values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes. I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level."

The coaching search

University of Tennessee fans and students protested plans to hire Ohio State Defensive Coordiantor Greg Schiano so loudly that University of Tennessee leaders called the deal off. The school and Schiano were close to an agreement Sunday before the deal fell apart after heavy criticism from fans, state representatives and gubernatorial candidates.

Despite the backlash, then-AD John Currie defended his choice of Schiano to lead UT football.

"Among the most respected professional and college football coaches, he is widely regarded as an outstanding leader who develops tough, competitive teams and cares deeply about his student-athletes," Currie said in an earlier statement.

Since then, it's been one coach after another turning down the head coach spot at UT.

The Vols also reached out to Oklahoma State University's Mike Gundy. According to ESPN, Gundy also met with Tennessee officials back in 2013 when the Volunteers hired Butch Jones. Gundy ultimately decided to stick with OSU, celebrating his choice with a tweet.

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