RAINSVILLE – A night filled with old stories and laughter celebrated Rainsville native Jeremy Pruitt on becoming the head football coach at the University of Tennessee on Saturday at the Tom Bevill Enrichment Center.
The event brought in more than 350 people to meet, greet, take photos with and get both Alabama Crimson Tide and Tennessee Volunteer memorabilia signed by coach Pruitt.
After all guests were served dinner, the ceremony to honor Pruitt began with speeches from former coaches Terry Mitchell and Don Cunningham and former Rainsville Mayor Roy Sanderson.
The trio shared several great memories of a younger Jeremy Pruitt in his days at Plainview School that were met with laughter and applause from the standing-room only crowd.
Sanderson, who is an avid Tennessee fan, even gave Pruitt his first gift of the evening in the form of a pair of bright orange and white checkerboard overalls.
Rainsville mayor Rodger Lingerfelt and the Rainsville city council then awarded Pruitt with a key to the city before representative Nathaniel Ledbetter and senator Steve Livingston presented Pruitt with a copy of a resolution that congratulated him on all his accomplishments and his newest position as head coach at Tennessee.
Jeremy Pruitt then took to the stage after being formally introduced by his father and longtime Plainview head football coach Dale Pruitt.
Jeremy quickly congratulated his alma mater’s recent state championship in basketball. He then said that he was so happy to see so many people who touched his life in positive ways come out to celebrate the city of Rainsville.
He then said that he still cares deeply for the area and wants to stay involved in any way he can.
“It’s been 12 or 13 years since I’ve lived in this town,” Jeremy Pruitt said. “I try to get here as much I can, and I can tell you my heart is never far away from here. I try to get updates on what’s going on, so I’m thinking about Rainsville an awful lot. I have a lot of pride when people ask me where I’m from.
“Just because I’m at Tennessee, or just because I don’t pick up my phone doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what goes on in Rainsville. If there is something going on in this town, you better believe that I want to be a part of it in any way I can.”
The former national champion defensive coordinator at both Alabama and Florida State will serve his first game as a head coach at the collegiate level on Sept. 1 when Tennessee kicks off their 2018 season against West Virginia in a neutral-site game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.