Less than one week after National Signing Day and approximately a month before the start of spring practice, Jeremy Pruitt will be tasked with finding a new running backs coach as assistant Robert Gillespie will no longer be a part of the Tennessee staff moving forward, per VolQuest.
BREAKING: Tennessee and running backs coach Robert Gillespie have parted ways. Jeremy Pruitt will begin a search for a new running backs coach immediately. pic.twitter.com/qhRGMycMwL
— Volquest Staff (@Volquest_Rivals) February 13, 2018
The move comes less than a week after Pruitt praised Gillespie following National Signing Day and Gillespie echoed happy sentiments in Knoxville.
#Vols RB coach Robert Gillespie: My wife and I feel blessed to still be here. This is a special place, a place full of passionate people, a place where it matters.
— GoVols247 (@GoVols247) February 7, 2018
The lone holdover from the Butch Jones staff was included in the University of Tennessee’s official announcement of Pruitt’s assistant coaches just last Thursday, and participated in the National Signing Day celebrations across the state. John Brice of GridironNow reports that Gillespie did not fit in well with the new staff, and the frontrunner to replace Gillespie is former Florida State Heisman-winning quarterback Chris Weinke, who spent last season as an offensive analyst at Alabama.
Gillespie led arguably the most successful position group of the Butch Jones era, coaching rushers Raijon Neal and Jalen Hurd to 1,000 yard seasons. Gillespie also helped recruit and develop New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, and most recently John Kelly, who will forgo his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL draft.
Previously holding the titles of Running Backs Coach, Assistant Coach on Offense, and Recruiting Coordinator, Gillespie’s departure will mean every member of Tennessee’s coaching staff will have been hired by new athletic director Phillip Fulmer and Pruitt.