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Butch Jones’ name should be getting more mentions in coaching carousel

Kavin McGrath, Butch Jones AP

Yeah, there wasn’t much excitement in Cincinnati’s 27-10 win over South Florida Friday night. The Bearcats took care of business against a bad Bulls team that may be looking for a new coach at the end of the season, but the win did keep UC alive for at least a share of a Big East title.

Though the Bearcats cannot win the conference outright, this might be Butch Jones‘ best coaching job in his three years at UC. Jones can still guide his team to back-t0-back 10-win seasons if Cincy wins next week at UConn and its bowl game. That would be a 10-win season without quarterback Zach Collaros and former conference Offensive Player of the Year Isaiah Pead.

Say what you will about Cincy’s schedule, but that would be an impressive accomplishment.

Surprisingly, Jones isn’t getting more attention when it comes to this year’s coaching carousel — at least as not as much as the likes of Willie Taggart and Charlie Strong. Sure, it’s early and things will be picking up in the next few weeks, but Jones has really only been connected via rumor mill to the open job at Kentucky.

But unless Jones is truly unhappy with the administration at UC, it would be surprising to see him make the move to Lexington. Coaches want playmakers and resources to win. Jones isn’t going to be upgrading in those departments going to UK — at least not significantly. That’s not to say the Wildcats aren’t committed to winning or athletic director Mitch Barnhart can’t make a good hire, it just doesn’t feel like Jones is that person.

It’s a bit surprising not to hear Jones being connected to the open job at Tennessee. Jon Gruden is still atop the Vols’ wish list, but if that doesn’t work out (like expected), Jones should be on the university’s short list.

Or, perhaps Jones will stay at UC as the head coach of the Bearcats for another year. It will depend on what jobs are available and who picks up the phone. Cincinnati has made great coaching hires the last several years, from Mark Dantonio to Brian Kelly to Jones, but its football infrastructure is only so big. It’s hard to imagine Jones’ stock won’t eventually outgrow it.

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9 Responses to “Butch Jones’ name should be getting more mentions in coaching carousel”
  1. thegamecocker says: Nov 23, 2012 11:58 PM

    Cinncinnatti Nippert Stadium is just not large enough. If Cincy wants to be taken seriously, it must upgrade its facilities. Or remain just a basketball school which Coach Huggins built. The female President who fired Bob Huggins should be fired.

  2. pf1977 says: Nov 24, 2012 12:58 AM

    not sure i am quite as high on butch jones as you are. he is 22-14 in three years at cincinnati, his predecessor, brian kelly, was 34-6 in three seasons.

    he might need another successful season or two. or he might need to pull a big upset to get his name really buzzing in the ears of athletic directors.

  3. ningenito78 says: Nov 24, 2012 1:07 AM

    There aren’t any big upsets left this year for the guy to get. He’s a good coach. He’ll move past Cincy. UC is like the practice girl.

  4. thejjtrain says: Nov 24, 2012 1:08 AM

    A. Yes Huggins built a good program, in Conference USA
    B. Oscar Robertson

  5. thegamecocker says: Nov 24, 2012 7:48 AM


    Are you saying/suggesting that Oscar Robertson was the instigator behind the departure of Coach Huggins at U of Cinncinnatti? if so, I would appreciate if you would elaborate. Thanks

  6. rationalcat61 says: Nov 24, 2012 8:43 AM


    UC basketball existed well before the fine job Bob Huggins did with rebuilding the program. Oscar Robertson played for the Bearcats, and right after he left, the Cats won back to back NCAA Championships.

    The female president who fired Bob Huggins has been long gone, and is now running the SUNY system in NY. UC has had 2 presidents since Nancy Zimpher left for SUNY.

    Jones is a good coach and a good guy. I hope UC can keep him, but he’ll most probably move on, and I think it’s mostly due to the demise of the Big East, as well as attendance issues at UC football games. Even if the Cats sold out all the games even at tiny Nippert, the problem of the Big East remains.

  7. paulhargis53 says: Nov 24, 2012 8:48 AM

    No, he’s saying that Huggins didn’t “put them on the map”. Robertson was a huge hoops star years before Huggins came along.
    To a lot of people, if it didn’t happen in the last 20 years, it didn’t happen. That’s pretty sad.

  8. thegamecocker says: Nov 24, 2012 10:17 AM

    @Paulhargis53 and rationalcat61

    Thanks for the feedback. I knew the “Big O” was a superstar at U of Cin and IMO, is one of the top 5 players to ever play the game! I also know he is a model citizen who values education and should be a role-model for anyone. It struck me that it is not in his character to instigate the firing of anyone and that is why I was wondering if there were politics I was not aware of. U. of Cincinnatti is a fine academic institution who is going to be caught between a rock and hard place regarding conference realignment. They would be a great fit in the ACC but their TV footprint apparently brings nothing to the party. It appears the Big East will be their only alternative. But their academic pedigree does not belong with Memphis, Central Florida, USF, Houston, etc. Call me an elitist and “old school”, but to me academics and who you keep company with go hand-in-hand. That’s why Rutgers to the Big 10 is such an epic win for that school. Good luck Bearcats!

  9. ningenito78 says: Nov 24, 2012 11:54 AM

    Huggins is gone because he couldn’t stay off the bottle and had a 0% graduation rate.

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