Samuel T. Pruitt is a military veteran and Florida native who was born and raised in St. Petersburg. He attended local schools in Pinellas County and graduated in 1981 from St. Petersburg High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in 1994. In 2009, he attended Cam Tech School of Construction and received his General Contractor’s license.
Sam is a dedicated teacher and wrestling coach with more than 30 years of service at St. Petersburg High School. His passion for wrestling began in 1977 on a stormy day in late August when he met Coach Allen Ramker at Boca Ciega High School who introduced him to the sport wrestling. During his junior year, he met Coach Max Loden who trained him to become Pinellas County’s first ever 2x State Wrestling Champion and the first African American State Champion at St. Petersburg High School.
He earned a scholarship to attend Lincoln College where he was a 2nd Team All-American during his sophomore year. During his junior year he transferred to Indiana State University where he was Indiana State Open Champion in 1984.
Sam enlisted in the United States Army in 1984 and 1988. While serving, he was a 2x All-Army Champion and earned two Bronze Medals at the Interservice Games in 1986 and 1988.
He is the second longest tenure coach in the history of Pinellas County Schools. He has also coached many youth programs like the Police Athletic League (PAL). During his coaching career, Sam has won over 300 dual meets and coached many city, county, district, regional, and national champions.
Sam currently and his beautiful wife Crystal (28 years!) reside in North Palmetto. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Sam is also the brother of five sisters and uncle to a host of nieces and nephews. He is currently an active member of Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, reading history books, fishing, and skiing.
“My greatest achievements have been serving as a role model, coach, friend, and life mentor to thousands of youths, helping them to become positive respectful contributors in their local communities. This by far is the greatest gift I can ever receive from teaching and coaching young people.” –- Sam Pruitt
Lifetime Service to Wrestling
Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations