Tennessee’s parting of ways with running backs coach Robert Gillespie was a “mutual decision,” a source with direct knowledge of the situation told SEC Country.
Gillespie had been the only coaching staff holdover from the previous Tennessee football regime. The former Florida tailback coached the Vols running backs all five seasons of Butch Jones’ coaching tenure in Knoxville, earning a promotion to assistant head coach in 2015.
New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt gave no indication any staff changes were imminent last Wednesday at the Vols’ recruiting presentation at the Tennessee Theatre.
During the Q&A portion of the presentation, a fan asked Pruitt why he had elected to retain Gillespie.
“Recruiting against Tennessee, there’s guys that when you go into a house, or you followed them into a house, you know what they have done in respect to recruiting,” Pruitt said. “ You look at the way his players have played, very well-respected in the profession, and we’re excited that he’s here.”
Gillespie also spoke at the Tennessee Theatre last week, sharing his excitement about being a part of the Vols’ new staff.
“I’ll tell you this, some people get an opportunity to coach at the University of Tennessee one time, I’m fortunate this is my second time to be a coach at Tennessee and I’m excited,” Gillespie said. “As you look at the [coaches seated] behind me, obviously coach has done a really good job putting the staff together.
“Having guys like this behind me in the office every day makes you want to compete to be the best coach you can be, because we have really good football players, and I believe right now we have the guys that can get the best out of the guys we have on this campus.”