Reports are circulating that Butch Jones—formerly of the Cincinnati Bearcats—has been tabbed as the new coach for the University of Tennessee football program.
Tennessee has called an afternoon news conference to introduce Jones, sources said.
Cincinnati said Jones had resigned his position with the Bearcats effective immediately.
“I would like to thank Butch Jones for his time at the University of Cincinnati,” athletic director Whit Babcock said in a news release. “With that said, we are excited about the future of this program and this job will be extremely attractive nationally. Our search will begin immediately.”
Jones recently declined an offer by the Colorado Buffaloes to take the Vols head coaching gig.
Jones is an offensive minded coach with a career coaching record of 50-27 during head coaching stints at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati—in both cases he took over for Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.
The hire, if indeed true, will bring an end to an embarrassing saga for the Vols football program as the coaching search turned out to be much more difficult than AD Dave Hart likely imagined.
Jones is regarded as a strong recruiter (one of the best in the Big East over the last several seasons) with an affable personality, however, he’s also big on discipline and knows how to straddle the line between being a “player’s coach” and a head coach. He’s not a pushover and is well-regarded for his excellent work ethic and overall likable demeanor.
It’s unknown how he’ll fare in the SEC having never recruited in the conference, but he reportedly has some strong ties in the Atlanta, Florida, and Memphis Tennessee area, and should be able to strengthen those connections even more as head coach of the Vols.
Jones may not have been first on the list of Tennessee candidates, but he certainly could turn out to be the best fit.
We shall see.