Notes on Pruitt's contract, coaching vacancies

semerson@macon.comJanuary 17, 2014 

Jeremy Pruitt was introduced as Georgia's new defensive coordinator at a press conference on Wednesday.

STEVEN COLQUITT/UGA

ATHENS - Jeremy Pruitt is sliding right into Todd Grantham's role, as well as his salary slot.

Pruitt's deal at Georgia, released Friday via an open records request, will be for three years and pay him $850,000 annually. That's the same salary Grantham was earning, before he bolted for a reported $1 million deal at Louisville.

Grantham was also on a three-year deal, which he agreed to when hired in 2010, and then he signed a new three-year deal in 2012. Next season was the final year of that deal.

Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is set to enter the second year of a three-year deal, which pays him $550,000 annually. But if recent history is any indication, Bobo's salary will be revisited.

Pruitt's deal will expire on Dec. 31, 2016, plus any bowl game (or playoff) that Georgia is involved in that season. There will be "potential performance bonuses," that will be established later.

Pruitt's deal is just a four-page memorandum of understanding. The lawyers will hash out a larger, more official contract later, once recruiting is over. But some provisions are included in the memo, including the buyout:

- The amount that Pruitt will owe if he leaves is small, and decreases each calendar year: He will owe Georgia $125,000 if he leaves during 20144, $100,000 if during 2015, and $50,000 if during 2016.

- If Pruitt is fired, Georgia owes him the remainder of his salary, but the memorandum stipulates that "Coach shall have a duty to mitigate his contractual damages by seeking other employment, business opportunities, or independent contractor positions." And then UGA would only owe Pruitt the balance between what it owes and what he's earning at his new job.

Update on three coaching openings

Georgia's focus this weekend appears to be recruiting, rather than rushing to fill the three vacancies on its defensive staff.

Pruitt and head coach Mark Richt have been visiting prospects around Georgia and Florida, and Pruitt reportedly had an in-home visit Thursday night with Lorenzo Carter, a five-star defensive end.

Georgia currently has 16 commitments, and Pruitt has been visiting some of those, as well as prospective ones.

"Coach Pruitt is out there working a million miles an hour," said Daryl Jones, Georgia's on-campus recruiting coordinator.

As for the coaching vacancies, it seems likely that Georgia is waiting to see what happens at Pruitt's former team. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher had not decided as of Friday afternoon whether to promote from within (linebackers coach Charles Kelly would be the favorite) or hire from outside.

Should Kelly not get the job, he would make an intriguing candidate for Georgia's staff: He's an Auburn graduate who coached at Georgia Tech for seven seasons before coming to Florida State last year. He was not only the linebackers coach at FSU last season, but also the special teams coordinator.

And from what Richt said Wednesday at Pruitt's introduction, Richt would like to hire someone to help on special teams.

Sal Sunseri, who is currently Florida State's defensive ends coach, would also be a potential candidate at Georgia. Sunseri, who also came to Florida State last year, is the former defensive coordinator at Tennessee, and from 2009-11 worked at Alabama, along with Pruitt.

Pruitt said Wednesday he would serve as Georgia's secondary coach, though that was before inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and defensive line coach Chris Wilson bolted. Pruitt is still most likely to coach the secondary, but that could change if he and Richt are bowled over by a coaching candidate who wants to coach defensive backs.

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