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Report: Peyton Manning to Have 'Great Influence' on Hiring of Next Tennessee HC

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2021

Former Denver Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning, center and his son Marshall Manning talk with Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt before an NCAA college football game against Georgia State Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

Tennessee football is once again in the market for a head coach, but this time the program will use a famous alum to help with the process.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Peyton Manning will have "a big role in the search process and great influence on who Tennessee's next head coach will be."

He will hope to find an adequate replacement for Jeremy Pruitt, who will reportedly be fired Monday after three years with the team, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

Manning starred at Tennessee from 1994 to '97 and is the school's all-time leader with 11,201 passing yards and 89 passing touchdowns.

The 44-year-old was the No. 1 pick of the 1998 NFL draft, and he won five MVP awards and two Super Bowls in a sure-fire Hall of Fame career. His 18 years in the NFL also gave him plenty of experience dealing with a variety of coaches.

Manning's expertise could be valuable for a program that has struggled mightily over the past decade.

Phillip Fulmer, who coached Manning at Tennessee, left after the 2008 season. Since then, the Volunteers have gone through four different full-time head coaches with zero 10-win seasons. Fulmer had two losing seasons in his 17 years with the program, but there have been seven in the last 11 years, including a 3-7 record in 2020.

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Fulmer had become the school's athletic director but will step down from the position, per Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Amid a lot of uncertainty for the program, Manning's involvement could ease concerns.

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