Craig Fitzgerald's departure back to the NFL sent shockwaves through the Tennessee universe in March. The Vols were on the heels of Spring practice being cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and A.J. Artis stepped seamlessly into the job.
Fitzgerald has widely been considered as one of the best strength coaches in America, and he was paid that way at Tennessee, but the allure of the NFL was too much for him to turn away. Fitzgerald was more than successful during his time at Tennessee, as he stabilized a program that had been embattled with injury, and seemingly turned them into what an SEC football program should look like.
Jeremy Pruitt had no intentions on rushing the hire or making the news public on Artis' promotion, but when it did become public, the Tennessee staff and players alike loved the news.
We take a look at some of their reactions here:
Inside Linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer was quick to react to the news on social media
Byron Jerideau is another member of the strength team, and he will now be working for Artis instead of alongside him. He shared his thoughts.
Freshman All-American Henry To’oto’o benefited tremendously from Fitzgerald’s program early in his career.
Aaron Beasley is a prospect who could play various roles for Tennessee in the fall, and his development in the strength and condition program will be pivotal in the short amount of time before the season starts.
Caleb Cox left Tennessee’s staff over the off-season for a role on the field at Eastern Kentucky, but he still weighed in on Artis.
Multiple other members of the Tennessee staff and players weighed in. Attached are several below.