KNOXVILLE -- He is still the guy that taught them how to play kickball and officiated their dodgeball games. He's still the guy that wore a Fort Payne Wildcats football T-shirt to class every day and carried them over his shoulder across the playground if they got hurt.

Before he rose to prominence as a college football coach, Jeremy Pruitt was a PE teacher at Wills Valley Elementary School in Fort Payne, Alabama.

The pride of DeKalb County, Pruitt has never forgotten his roots.

Many of his former students followed with great interest last week when Pruitt was introduced as the 26th head coach in Tennessee football history by athletic director Phillip Fulmer.

"It's crazy to think he was my kindergarten teacher and watched me tumble outside on the playground and now he's the head coach at a major SEC school," said Presley Hawkins, a Wills Valley graduate. "I think that's really cool and really encouraging because it shows that even being from a small town you can still reach your goals and be something in life."

Jeremy Pruitt is a Southern-bred football coach cut from central casting.

He's a coach's son from Rainsville, Alabama. He's a grinder, a lifer, a country boy comfortable in his own skin.

Read the full article from UTsports here