At last, the search is over for a new head coach for the UT football team. On December 7, Butch Jones, former coach at the University of Cincinnati, was announced at the new coach.
After the coaching position was turned down by other candidates, Jones has become the 24th head coach at the University of Tennessee.
“I am very pleased that Butch Jones is the head football coach at Tennessee,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart. “Butch has a track record of success at every program he has led, and he views Tennessee as the job he coveted. We look forward to Butch leading our football program back to prominence.”
Jones is leaving Cincinnati with a winning record of 23-14 in three seasons. He also was the head coach at Central Michigan for three seasons as well. There his record was 27-13. In six seasons of coaching he has a 50-27 winning record. His teams also have played in bowl games, five of his six years as a head coach.
Before accepting the head coaching position at Cincinnati, Jones’s 27-13 record at Central Michigan included a pair of MAC titles, three consecutive bowl appearances, and a No. 23 postseason ranking in 2009. The Chippewas were 22-3 in the MAC during his tenure, and Jones was the only head coach to lead the program to consecutive bowl games as well as the first in the history of the MAC to do so in his first three seasons.
He won four conference championships in his six years as a head coach and was the Big East Conference Coach of the Year in 2011. Jones garnered the same honor from CBSSports.com this season.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be the head football coach at the University of Tennessee,” said Jones. “I understand the values, traditions, and level of expectations that come with this position, and I look forward to being a part of the Vol Nation.
And like former head coach Pat Summitt, he stresses excellence in the classroom as well. The 2011 Cincinnati Bearcats were also the only program nationally to win both its conference championship and its league top academic honor, earning the 2010-11 Big East Team Academic Excellence Award.
Jones comes to Tennessee with the second-best win total for an incoming head coach in program history. Johnny Majors had a record of 53-43-2 at Iowa State and Pittsburgh before taking over the Volunteer program in 1977.
Jones’ 50-27 record in six seasons is nearly identical to the 50-27-1 record that Bowden Wyatt had as a head coach prior to taking over at UT in 1955. Wyatt had spent six seasons at Wyoming and two at Arkansas before coming to Knoxville. The College Football Hall of Famer led the Vols to an SEC Championship in his second season with the Vols in 1956.
Jones graduated from Ferris State University in Michigan, where he played football.
He and his wife, Barb, have three sons, Alex (16), Adam (12), and Andrew (5).
By Nancy Morris