This is beyond ironic. When former Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt entered the college ranks back in 2007, first joining Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide staff, he came heavily recommended due to his success under respected Alabama high school coach Rush Propst.
Pruitt was Propst’s defensive backs coach from 2004 to 2006 and the defensive coordinator in 2005 and 2006 at Hoover High School in Hoover, Ala., just outside of Birmingham. That was where his name as a high school coach really grew.
Well, nearly 15 years later, Pruitt was fired by Tennessee football three years into his first college coaching gig. Now, three months after that firing, Propst has been fired from his most recent gig in Georgia at Valdosta High School, according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN. Ironically, it’s due to recruiting allegations. Here’s what Schlabach wrote.
The Valdosta Board of Education in Georgia voted on Tuesday not to renew the contract of embattled football coach Rush Propst, who was placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced that he recruited players and their families and then solicited money to pay their living expenses. The board of education’s decision not to renew Propst’s contract was made by a 5-3 vote.
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How do you manage to get fired over recruiting violations in high school? Of course, it doesn’t seem like they were giving players cash in McDonald’s bags, but at the same time, it’s crazy to see something like this happen.
It’s worth noting that Pruitt is not the only Propst protege who was on Tennessee football’s staff last year either. In fact, a more recent protege was more of a direct name in the investigation that got everybody fired to begin with.
Don’t forget, as David Ubben of The Athletic first broke back on Jan. 18, Tennessee football inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer and outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton were the two assistants fired for cause along with Pruitt. That means they were probably the most responsible for what was going on in the first place.
Well, Felton was Propst’s run game coordinator and defensive line coach in 2013 and 2014 at Colquitt County High School in Colquitt County, Ga., where Propst was a head coach from 2008 to 2018. You really can’t make this stuff up.
At this point, it’s hard not to establish a connection. How else could you describe a head coach being fired over serious allegations that appeared to have been carried out by multiple key assistants, and the head coach and one of those assistants being proteges of a high school coach fired for violations just months later? The story is crazy.
Those are the types of stories that always reach Tennessee football, though. Propst had been a high school head coach for over 30 years, and this didn’t hit him until now, months after the effect it had on the Vols.
Before coaching at Hoover, Propst coached Alma Bryant High School in Irvington, Ala. in 1998, Alba High School Bayou La Batre, Ala. just outside of Mobile in 1997, Eufaula High School in Eufaula, Ala. from 1994 to 1996 and Ashville High School in Ashville, Ala. from 1989 to 1993. He was a volunteer assistant for the UAB Blazers in 2019 before joining Valdosta.