Robert Prunty (Courtesy of East Carolina Sports Information)
Dave Johnson Dave JohnsonContact Reporter
Robert Prunty, East Carolina’s defensive coordinator this season, has been hired as Hampton University’s 21st head football coach. He will be officially introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference Friday.
Prunty, a native of Chatham, spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach on the FBS level. He began last fall as East Carolina’s associate head coach and defensive line coach. After the second game, he was promoted to defensive coordinator.
From 2013-16, Prunty was on the staff at Cincinnati, where he was a co-defensive coordinator his last three years. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as the defensive ends coach at Texas Tech.
Scout.com recognized Prunty as his conference’s Recruiter of the Year four times — twice at Cincinnati and twice at Texas Tech.
“Coach Prunty’s record of consistent, sustained, outstanding performance will take our football program to the next level,” Hampton President William R. Harvey said in a statement. “I enthusiastically welcome him to Hampton Nation.”
Prunty’s hire comes at a significant point in the program’s history. Three weeks ago, Hampton announced it will leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Association for the Big South in July. However, the football team might not be able to make the jump until the 2019 season.
This will be Prunty’s first head-coaching job on the college level.
“I would like to thank President Dr. William R. Harvey and athletic director Eugene Marshall Jr. for this opportunity,” Prunty said in a statement. “I will give all that I have to make this program successful for our university, alumni, fans, and our community.
“There is plenty of work to be done until we reach our goal. But we will all work tirelessly to get us there.”
Prunty, whose age was listed at 52 in ECU’s media guide, will be the Pirates’ fourth coach since 2007. He follows Connell Maynor, who resigned Nov. 20 after his fourth season.
Michael Ketchum, HU’s defensive coordinator the last three seasons, has been the interim head coach since Maynor’s departure.
Prunty brings Virginia roots to HU. He was the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy in his hometown of Chatham from 2002-09. Before that, he was the head coach at Gretna High from 1993-2001.
Gretna’s Hawks had lost 44 consecutive games before he took over. In his third season, they finished 7-3. He laid the foundation for Gretna to win four state championships from 2003-08.
Prunty is a 1988 graduate of Alabama A&M, where he received his degree in social work.