HOOVER — Jeremy Pruitt was in the midst of his 21-minute opening monologue Tuesday at SEC Football Kickoff Media Days when he mentioned Myra Miles, the former Brooks High School coach who eventually became the athletic director at Hoover High School.
Priutt was an assistant with the Bucs and Miles was, in essence, his boss during his time there.
Fifteen years later, their roles are reversed. Miles is now the executive assistant to Pruitt, who is beginning his second season as head coach at Tennessee.
Theirs has been a relationship developed over the past 15 years and born of mutual respect.
Pruitt said hiring his former high school AD was a no-brainer given their ties.
“When we hired Myra, that was really my wife's idea,” Pruitt said. “We were talking about, hey, let's put this together. Who do we believe in? Who do we trust? Who has the same vision that we do? And Myra's somebody that I worked alongside at Hoover High School. She happened to be retired and was available. And so, you know, it took one phone call, and she said she's in.”
When Pruitt called, Miles jumped at the chance to join him with the Vols.
“Jeremy is a rock-solid son, husband, father, coach and man,” Miles said in an email Tuesday. “I’ve been blessed to know Jeremy for 15 years. We became friends when he was an assistant at Hoover and we have stayed in touch ever since. From Hoover to Alabama, then to Florida State then to Georgia and back to Alabama we would talk pretty often.”
Given Hoover’s football success, it’s not unusual for college coaches to flock to visit players during the recruiting process. Even after Pruitt had moved on to the college coaching ranks, he was a frequent visitor to the high school. It was through those visits the two maintained their friendship.
“Every time JP came to Hoover it was always a great day,” Miles said.
Miles recognized early that Pruitt’s stock was on the rise, given his approach to coaching.
“I knew early on that Jeremy was going to be a terrific head coach one day by the way he goes out of his way to establish great relationships,” she said. “Yes, he knows the X’s and O’s, but when he recruits, he recruits the entire family, not just the kid.”
Miles calls Pruitt “a grinder in the film room with staff, players and even by himself.”
“His attention to detail is scary and he might possibly be the best teacher of the game that is in it now,” she said. “He is very tough and demanding on our players but they all know that he loves them and that he is going to go to war with them to help them be the very best players and men that they can be.”
Other than Pruitt’s wife, Casey, Miles is one person who can offer an unsolicited opinion to the Vols coach.
“We joke about how I don’t mind telling him when he is wrong but he knows I love him and respect him like a son,” Miles said. “I am very protective of my boss and I am very proud of him.”
Pruitt doesn’t dispute Miles will, on occasion, set him straight.
“Myra's there every single day with me,” he said. “You know, she helps me along the way, and she don't mind telling me if she thinks I'm out of line.”
Miles also offers up a softer side of Pruitt.
“Probably one of my favorite things to see before every home game so far has been when he, his wife Casey and their boys Jayse, Ridge and Flynt are together having a sweet family moment together,” she said.
She’s also confident Pruitt will return Tennessee to the past glory the school enjoyed for so long.
“Yep, I’m very proud of Jeremy and Vol Nation has the right man leading our program now,” she said.