Pruitt is the 26th head coach in Tennessee football history.
Two years later, Pruitt joined the Tide coaching staff as a graduate assistant.
This year, Pruitt has coached Alabama's defense to the No. 2 overall defense in the country after guiding the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 defense last season.
During Pruitt's time as an assistant coach, he's been part of three championship teams (Florida State in 2013, Alabama in 2011-12).
Sources say the contract is believed to around $4 million annually and Pruitt will be introduced later this afternoon in a formal press conference.More news: Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices, escalating spat
Pruitt can net $300,000 for winning the SEC Championship game and an additional $500,000 if he leads the Volunteers to a national championship.
Pruitt was a high school coach for a decade before returning to his alma mater in 2007 to work under Nick Saban, where he was the director of player development until 2012.
Alabama topped the nation in run defense last season and ranks third in that category this year.
Pruitt, 43, is a two-time Broyles Award finalist as the top assistant coach in college football.
The story began to pick up steam when Tennessee appeared to have hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Before the 2015 playoffs, Smart accepted the head coaching position at Georgia, but he also attempted to stay on the Alabama staff through the playoffs.
Prior to that he spent two seasons at Georgia following a one year stint as defensive coordinator at Florida State where he helped the Seminoles win the 2013 national championship. "He will do a great job at Tennessee and we wish him the best". However, the search for a new coach had been so unsuccessful that it was even jokingly rumored North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un even turned down the job. Pruitt, who is the fourth Saban assistant to become an SEC head coach, is also regarded as one of the top recruiters in the conference.