Just In: Jeremy Pruitt Receives Two-Year Extension, Raise Ahead of Season Opener

Matthew Ray

Contract talks started for Jeremy Pruitt back in January, but they were swiftly put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Tennessee has extended its head coach's contract for two years, while increasing his annual salary. 

ESPN Senior Writer, Chris Low, broke the story minutes ago. 

Low wrote, "Pruitt's new deal will pay him $4.2 million annually, although he has elected not to accept the $400,000 raise this year to help Tennessee weather the challenges all athletic departments are facing during the pandemic, sources told ESPN."

Low also noted, "Pruitt's original contract when he was hired in December 2017 was a six-year, $22.8 million deal. His new agreement includes a bonus package over the $4.2 million he is scheduled to make."

The Tennessee Athletics Department has since confirmed the report. Athletic Director, Phillip Fulmer wrote, ""I'm excited that this extension gives Jeremy the runway to continue to build on the momentum and energy we have around our football program coming out of last season," Fulmer said. "He has made excellent progress entering just his third year and clearly realizes there is much work still to be done. This extension secures him to continue his efforts to return our program to a championship level and shows our commitment to him, his staff, this team and the future of the Tennessee Volunteers. I am very grateful to Chancellor Plowman, our administration and Board of Trustees for their confidence and support as well as their leadership and attentiveness to the future of our overall athletics program.

"Jeremy and I were close to finalizing his extension early this year. But once the pandemic hit and we learned more and more about its potential impact on the department, Jeremy informed me that he preferred not to accept a raise for this year. His focus quickly shifted to his players and supporting them through a period of interruption and uncertainty. His selflessness and concern for the greater good has been neat to observe through all of this."

Pruitt is 13-12 through two seasons with the Volunteers, and he is set to start his third season on Saturday, as his 16th ranked team heads to Columbia (S.C.) on for a 7:30 p.m. ET showdown against South Carolina on the SEC Network. 

Earlier in the week, Pruitt said: "Our guys are really excited about getting a chance to play this week. I am really proud about how everyone in our organization has really stuck together trying to figure out a way for us to improve daily. Our kids have had a great attitude along with this staff and we are excited about this week. We have a tremendous challenge going on the road playing South Carolina. We are very familiar with their staff. Coach Muschamp has done an outstanding job there. He does an outstanding job on defense. He hired Mike Bobo to be his offensive coordinator, a guy that I've worked with before that I feel like is one of the best offensive minds in all of football, so it will be a tremendous challenge on both sides of the ball. Then you throw in special teams, which for us has probably been a huge point of emphasis just with the fact that we've had so many guys that have not been able to participate in practice, we've had to bounce guys around. We've got a lot of work that we've got to get done this week. We've got to continue to build and try to create momentum heading into Saturday's matchup."

You can follow VR2 on SI for more information on this story as it becomes available. 

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