Butch Jones to lead Volunteers as new football coach
By Grant Ramey | (email@example.com)
Cincinnati's Butch Jones has reached an agreement with the Vols to replace Derek Dooley, who was formally dismissed on Nov. 18, a game short of finishing his third season at Tennessee.
The news was first reported by http://VolQuest.com editor Brent Hubbs.
Tennessee confirmed the hiring Friday morning, shortly after Cincinnati announced Jones' resignation. A press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday in Knoxville to introduce Jones.
"I would like to thank Butch Jones for his time at the University of Cincinnati,” UC athletic director Whit Babcock said Friday in a release.
Jones was paid $1.85 million at Cincinnati, a contract that will require Tennessee to pay $1.4 million to buy out the coach.
Jones' initial contract with the Vols is thought to be around $3 million, according to the http://VolQuest.com report.
Jones, 44, has an overall record of 50-27 as a head coach with stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He was 23-14 with the Bearcats over the least three seasons.
Jones went 27-13 at Central Michigan, where he started as an assistant in 1998 coaching tight ends, eventually replacing head coach Brian Kelly, who left for Cincinnati. Jones was 20-3 overall in the Mid-America Conference and 12-9 in Big East games.
After Kelly left Cincinnati for his current job at Notre Dame, it was again Jones who filled the vacancy, taking over the Bearcats' football program in 2010.
Cincinnati went 4-8 in Jones' first season and 10-3 in 2011, which included Jones being named Big East coach of the year and a win over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl.
The Bearcats went 9-3 (5-2 Big East) under Jones this season. Cincinnati will play Duke in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
Before taking over at Central Michigan, Jones served as wide receivers coach at West Viriginia in 2005 and 2006.
The Denver Post reported on Wednesday that Jones was set to take over as head coach at the University of Colorado, but the deal fell through when Louisville coach Charlie Strong, who was rumored at the time to be Tennessee's next head coach, turned the Vols down.
That put a hold on the Colorado deal, with Jones and Tennessee showing mutual interest.
Other schools pursuing Jones were Purdue and Boston College.
His name was also connected as a finalist for the Kentucky job and briefly linked to the Wisconsin vacancy left when Bret Bielema left the Badgers to take over as head coach at Arkansas earlier this week.
Hiring Jones caps a wild coaching search that lasted nearly three weeks.
Rumors ran wild about former Super Bowl winning coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden being a candidate for the job, before those reports were eventually denied by Gruden's agent.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was reported to have had an offer from the Vols, but Gundy later announced he would remain the coach at his alma mater.
Strong's name made the rounds Wednesday, when Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart made a trip to Louisville to offer Strong the job.
Reports said Hart left Louisville thinking he had his next football coach, but Strong later called Hart to let him know he had decided to stay with the Cardinals despite the Vols' lucrative contract offer.
That opened the door for Jones, who pulled his name out of the Colorado vacancy after Strong left the Tennessee job open.
Fourth since Fulmer
Dooley replaced Kiffin in 2010, lasting just shy of three full seasons before being fired last month.
Tennessee's had two interim coaches since 2008. Kippy Brown briefly filled the interim role between Kiffin and Dooley.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was named interim coach after Dooley was fired, leading Tennessee to a 37-17 win over Kentucky to end a 5-7 season this year.