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Jacksonville Radio Personality Goes Sleazy, Assassinates The Character Of New UGA D-Coordinator Pruitt

rick ballou

(NOTE: This piece was written on Thursday morning.  It was put on a back burner and left as a draft in the hopes that no major outlets would even pick up the claims made by a Jacksonville radio host regarding defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s move from Florida State to Georgia.  Now that The Orlando Sentinel has followed up the story with FSU folks shooting down the slanderous comments, we’re posting it.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has also picked up the story.)


I don’t know Rick Ballou.  I don’t know his morals.  I don’t know his history.  I don’t know if he gives to charity.  I don’t know if he obeys all traffic signals.  I might have done a phoner on his radio show at one time or another — I know I’ve been on his station — but that hardly gives me any insight into the man’s character or his personal life.  I do know his co-host from radio and he’s always been a very solid guy to me.

But Rick Ballou?  No clue.

What does give me insight into Ballou’s character is the fact that he went on the radio Wednesday and smeared the character of former Florida State and new Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.  That tells me that Ballou is — what’s the word I’m looking for? — ah, yes, a jerk.

Yeah, we live in a world where passing out rumors is considered “reporting.”  Even rumors about public figures’ private lives.

Yes, those of us in the media gave away our souls long ago.  Most of us are willing to talk about anything and everything if we think it’ll draw in one more listener or reader.  There are enough bad apples in the media to spoil our whole dang bunch.

And, yes, you the consumer — many of you at least — lap it all up like mama’s gravy.

That doesn’t make Ballou’s statements any less sickening to me.  He claimed that Pruitt is a man “who loves the nightlife,” “who loves the ladies,” and who “made himself available” while in Tallahassee.  The man on-air with Ballou even said, “wow,” twice as Ballou went a helluva lot farther than he ever should have.  We’ll not link to his out-of-bounds claims because…

They’re none of Ballou’s damn business.  

They’re none of our damn business.  

And they’re none of your damn business.

Naturally, this character attack on Pruitt took off like wildfire on Twitter and a number of websites — Florida State-centric sites in particular — have picked it up and chuckled about it.  ”Ha, ha, alleged dirt on someone.  Hooray!”  For that reason, we felt someone should fire a shot back across Ballou’s bow.

Personally, I’d like to hire a PI to trail the radio host and all the other folks yukking it up over this crap to see just how morally upstanding they are.  We’re all human.  I’m guessing Ballou’s flubbed a few things just as I have and just as you have.  Being a sinner myself I tend not to throw stones regarding the alleged moral shortcomings of others.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I enjoy throwing stones at the stone-throwers.  That’s not very Christian, either, but at least those folks are asking for it.

What Pruitt did or didn’t do is between him and those around him.  Not some radio honk from Jacksonville or some internet hack like myself.  Or some gossip-monger like yourself if you’re into all this trash.

There’s a rumor now being kicked around simply because Ballou broadcast it.  An angry FSU fan — upset that his wubby-dubby D-coordinator split a week after winning a national crown — actually broadcast rumors regarding another man’s personal life.  One week earlier, Ballou would’ve defended FSU’s coordinator had some Gator fans made similar scandalous claims about the man.  Of that you can be sure.  After all, did we hear Ballou share any of these rumors while Ballou was still a Seminole coach?  Of course, not.  Which proves our point.  The guy’s a fan and not an objective member of the media.

Need more proof that Ballou is nothing more than a footy-pajama-wearing Nole backer?  That’s his photo in the Florida State hat at right.  He also posted this third-grade-level tweet when Pruitt’s departure became official.

Now, it’s funny to us that whenever a coach leaves a school, the jilted fans and and some of the media who cover that school always start to whisper that the coach only left because a) he was having an affair, b) he was drinking way too much, or c) both.  If I had a dollar for every stinking time I’ve received an email claiming that “Coach X was sleeping around” I’d be a millionaire.  Always when a guy leaves.  Always from the hometown fanbase.  Always, always, always.  And it’s usually malarkey.

My personal views on this kind of “reporting” haven’t changed much over time.  Go back to Bobby Petrino’s downfall at Arkansas and you’ll find that this site never tsk-tsk’d the man for having an affair.  We focused on the fact that Petrino pushed for the hiring of his mistress which could have gotten the school into legal trouble and — to be honest — could have gotten AD Jeff Long fired for the lack of oversight in his athletic department.

So in our view, the reality of the current situation is this: Georgia just hired a darned good defensive coordinator from national champion Florida State.  That man has an SEC background from his days as both an Alabama player and coach.  According to Pruitt, his reasons for joining Mark Richt’s staff were clear:


“In 2003 I was a high school football coach at Fort Payne (Alabama) High School and I brought some prospects over here to Georgia and I had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Richt.  That was the first time I ever met him, and when I walked out of that room 30 minutes later I was wowed.  My father looked at me and said, ‘That’s what college football is all about.’  I said right then and there if I ever had the opportunity to work for him that I wanted to be a part of his staff.”


That’s good enough for us.

As for Ballou and his blatant jackassery?  He owes Pruitt and his family a very public apology.  The radio host’s Twitter feed states that he’s the “dad of 2 beautiful little girls.”  Makes you wonder.  If his daughters grow up and become public figures, ya think Ballou would want some talking head broadcasting nasty rumors about their personal lives?

Put $20 on “No way!” for me.

Just because we in the media have microphones and keyboards doesn’t mean we know how to use them.  And being in the media sure as hell doesn’t mean we’re good people.

Thanks for making us all look a just little bit sleazier, Rick.



Georgia lost it's entire D coaching staff and in no way would I attack them personally. Coach Grantham got more $$$$ who can blame him? I like this hire. I do wish we could have kept the D  line coach but he had a chance to go to USC and help rebuild that team, good luck to him and his family. Maybe Georgia should go talk to Coach O about the D line coaching position. Wouldn't that be a hoot? The other 2 coaches that left, left on good terms. Good luck to them. When you have to attack someone personally it only makes you look small.


I See your point but I don't fully agree with you.  Full discloser I am a big FSU fan.  I live in Jacksonville and am very familiar with Rick Ballou as a radio his FSU sources are consistently solid he was a beat reporter in Tallahassee for a long time.  Whereas I believe his story I hate for it to become a gossip fest. I am not going to get angry at a guy who helped my team to when a National Championship I am going to thank him.

One last caveat I do think it is legit and news worthy to try and figure out why coaches may stay or go.  FSU lost 6 assistants last year and need to understand how to manage staff stability.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


There is a way to report that story with more class and less sleaze -- "I don't believe he left due to any problems inside the program; I think he moved for personal reasons."  End of story.

Let's not pretend Ballou was acting in the role of investigative reporter here.  Calling Pruitt "Petrino Jr" on Twitter looks a lot more like jilted fan than it does Woodward and Bernstein.

My thought is always the same: Would I want someone to share this same kind of dirt on me?  If the answer's "no," then I don't do it. 

Thanks for reading the site and congrats on the national title.  Well deserved.



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