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Vols hire new strength and conditioning coach

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A.J. Artis is the new sheriff in town.

Mississippi State v Tennessee
Jeremy Pruitt has filled the vacancy left by Craig Fitzgerald.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

A.J. Artis’ wait is over. He’s officially the director of football sports performance for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Artis, who’s been with the staff since 2018, has been serving as the default strength and conditioning coach for the last couple of months before head coach Jeremy Pruitt gave him the official title of director on Monday. He will replace Craig Fitzgerald, who left to take a similar role with the New York Giants.

“A.J. understands the standard we expect in this role and will continue to push our strength and conditioning efforts to the forefront of college football,” Pruitt said in a release. “Since he first joined our staff in 2018, he has helped instill physical and mental toughness in our program through his contagious energy, hard work and innovation. Our players have tremendous respect for him, and I have no doubt they will continue to develop under his mentorship.”

Tennessee needed to make a move in this regard due to the fact that players returned to campus last week in order to start voluntary offseason workouts. Artis has done a great job since he took over for Fitzgerald a couple of months ago, so it seemed like a natural transition.

“I would like thank Coach Pruitt and Coach Fulmer for the opportunity to lead a great group of young men,” Artis said in the team’s release. “I will give my all to our student-athletes and the Tennessee football program. I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to helping Vol football continue its resurgence.”

Artis was the assistant director of strength and conditioning over at Duke before making the move to Tennessee. He played collegiate ball at Campbell University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science before earning his master’s in exercise science at Appalachian State University in 2017.