TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As assistant coaching jobs in high school go, this one was as good as they come, and Jeremy Pruitt wanted it desperately.
It was 2004, and Hoover High, just outside Birmingham, Ala., was perhaps the most high-profile program in the country. A perennial championship contender, the Buccaneers were soon to be the focus of an MTV reality show. Because Pruitt's father, Dale, had coached in the state for nearly quarter-century, his name carried some cache, but when the job of defensive backs coach at Hoover came open, head coach Rush Propst had a slew of impressive candidates.
Eager for a chance, Jeremy Pruitt left a dozen messages for Propst, but Propst hadn't returned any of the calls. It wasn't until Pruitt procured Propst's home address and showed up in his driveway one afternoon that he finally gained the coach's attention.
"His persistence intrigued me," Propst said.
There was already another coach Propst had tabbed for the job, but he gave Pruitt a perfunctory interview anyway. They met for only about 30 minutes, but Propst had heard enough.
"He blew the other [candidates] out of the water," Propst said.
In the eight years since landing the job, Pruitt won state championships at Hoover and national titles at Alabama; he's shipped off talent to top college programs and prepared future NFL stars; he's done the grunt work and, this past December, he landed the job of defensive coordinator at Florida State.
It would be easy to classify it as a meteoric rise, but Pruitt doesn't see it that way. He's caught a few breaks along the way, but his path to the big time was paved with hard work and sacrifice.
To read more of David M. Hale's story, click here.