Robert Prunty named to ECU football staff

Published: Jan. 26, 2017 at 3:23 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Robert Prunty, a four-time conference recruiter-of-the-year honoree with two different programs, has been named defensive line coach at East Carolina according to an announcement from second-year head football coach Scottie Montgomery on Thursday.

Prunty's appointment to the Pirates' staff closes out a four-year tenure at Cincinnati where he served as associate head coach and defensive ends coach since 2013 and co-defensive coordinator since 2014. In addition to impacting the Bearcat program, Prunty spent three seasons under Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech from 2010 to 2012 directing the Red Raiders' defensive ends.

In seven combined seasons at the FBS level, Prunty was part of five bowl appearances, a conference co-championship and was recognized by as the Big 12 Conference Recruiter-of-the-Year in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before earning similar honors as the American Athletic Conference's top recruiter in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

"Robert's success is clearly evident in the number of young men he's been able to not only touch, but guide and mentor on and off the playing field," Montgomery said. "His work ethic and reputation on the recruiting trail have few equals, if any, and his leadership up front is critical to what we want to do on that side of the ball."

Prunty helped guide the Bearcats to the Belk, Military and Hawai'i Bowls in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively, and worked with 10 All-AAC defensive selections. Linebacker Eric Wilson was a first-team pick in 2016 after leading the league and standing fifth nationally with 10.8 tackles per game, while Cortez Broughton (2016), Silverberry Mouhon (2015, 2013), Terrell Hartsfield (2014) and Jordan Stepp (2013) were all honored as the conference's top linemen.

Before standing 11th among all FBS programs with 17 interceptions in 2016 and earning an Aloha Stadium postseason matchup against San Diego State in 2015, Cincinnati battled back from a 2-3 start with a seven-game win streak to finish the 2015 regular season with a 9-3 record and a share of the conference crown.

The Bearcats' defense was among the best in the country during Prunty's first campaign at UC in 2013, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both rushing defense (6th/104.5 ypg) and total defense (9th/315.6 ypg). Cincinnati was also among the top 30 in 10 of the 11 primary defensive categories tracked in the national stats, including 14th in scoring defense (21.0 ppg).

While at Texas Tech, he was part of a strong defensive turnaround in 2012 as the Red Raiders finished the regular season ranked 39th at the FBS level in total defense after standing 114th in 2011. Lineman Kerry Hyder was an All-Big 12 selection after ranking third on the squad with 56 tackles and a team-leading 14.0 tackles for lost yardage and six sacks. He tallied 10.5 TFLs during Big 12 play alone to lead the conference.

Prunty, who joined the Red Raiders in 2010 from Hargrave Military Academy, put his mark on the TTU football program almost immediately after playing an integral part in signing the highest-rated recruiting class in school history in 2011. In addition to, he was honored by as the Big 12 Conference's top-rated recruiter.

His player evaluation and relationship cultivation skills produced Texas Tech's second-highest rated class in school history a year later in 2012 and his efforts were saluted by both and Fox Sports.

From 2002 to 2009, Prunty served as head football coach at Hargrave Military Academy where 27 of his players went on to the National Football League (NFL). Since 1999, the academy has been responsible for six first-round draft choices, including two first-round players coached by Prunty.

Prior to his tenure at Hargrave, Prunty led a resurgence at Gretna (Va.) High School as he redirected a program that lost 44 consecutive games between 1991 and 1995 into an 11-1 product during his final season in 2001. Gretna went on to become a powerhouse, winning multiple state championships.

Prunty is a Chatham, Va., native and a 1983 Hargrave Military Academy graduate. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from Alabama A&M in 1988.

Prunty, 52, and his wife Kimberly are the parents of son Robert Prunty Jr., and daughter Gabrielle.