Tennessee parted ways with third-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt on Monday.
Pruitt was fired for cause.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Pruitt was fired for cause on Monday. His dismissal stems from alleged NCAA violations under his leadership, according to University of Tennessee sources familiar with the situation, meaning the university will not pay for his buyout.
Tennessee has since hired its new director of athletics at Danny White. White has launched a search for Pruitt’s replacement as head coach.
Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck could be an ideal candidate to clean up and rebuild the Tennessee program.
Fleck also has a connection to the NCAA Division I Offenses Committee that could benefit Tennessee when presenting the findings of wrongdoing to the jury.
Fleck played for Joe Novak in northern Illinois. Novak is a member of the NCAA Division I Offenses Committee.
Novak discussed Tennessee’s internal investigation with Flights Wire last month.
“Schools are members of the NCAA, so if they find a violation on campus, they are forced to surrender,” Novak told Flights Wire. “Since this thing is so public, I’m sure the NCAA realizes it. Technically, Tennessee has an obligation, after examining it, if it finds that there are violations, it is obligated to surrender. “
Fleck was a guest speaker at the 2020 American Football Coaches Association annual convention in Nashville.
The event kicked off with Fleck discussing his career and how he went from being a North Illinois wide receiver to the AFCA Convention and knowing he wanted to coach.
He has since risen through the coaching ranks, becoming a head coach for the first time in West Michigan (2013-15). There his ability to build a program with his culture on display was at the fore and he has since moved on to rebuild the Minnesota program in the same capacity.
At White’s introductory press conference on Friday, he spoke of his ambition to be a builder too.
Fleck’s full speech highlighting his coaching career can be heard here or below. Novak previously joined the “Tennessee Two-A-Days” show and can be streamed here or below.