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Butch Jones officially hired as Vols’ new head coach

Getty Images - Andy Lyons AP

Tennessee’s long, regional nightmare has officially come to an end.

Two days after Charlie Strong rejected the Vols, and two days after Butch Jones vehemently denied a report that he had accepted the Colorado job, the Vols announced Friday morning that they have hired the latter to be their new head football coach.  Jones will replace Derek Dooley, who was fired in mid-November after three years at the school.

A press conference to introduce Jones will be held at 2:30 p.m. ET this afternoon.

Jones has spent the past three seasons at Cincinnati, winning 19 games and sharing conference championships the past two years.  For his career, including a three-year stint at Central Michigan, Jones owns a 50-27 mark.

Jones, who also interviewed for the Purdue vacancy, will take over a program that has won just 16 games the past three seasons, and has lost 14 of their last 16 in SEC play.

Shortly before UT’s announcement, Cincinnati confirmed that Jones had stepped down as head coach and would be replaced on an interim basis by Steve Stripling.

“I would like to thank Butch Jones for his time at the University of Cincinnati,” UC athletic director Whit Babcock said. “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.”

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53 Responses to “Butch Jones officially hired as Vols’ new head coach”
  1. js20011041 says: Dec 7, 2012 8:20 AM

    Well, now we know why he turned down Colorado. That’s quite a change in opportunity for him. Tennessee has a been a consistent underachiever but it’s still a much, much better job than Colorado or Purdue.

  2. rascalmanny says: Dec 7, 2012 8:25 AM

    Hope he works out at UT or the Vols will be sunk for a decade. Vols can’t take another bad coach.

    Jones better be able to recruit as well or better than James Franklin at Vandy. I hope the Vols fans understand that this program will take a couple of years to get it back to winning.

    Jones is not the rock star Vols fans wanted and it’s eye opening.

  3. sd1024 says: Dec 7, 2012 8:31 AM

    Jones is a very good coach. Those who only follow the SEC may not even know the name, but football is out there…along with good coaches. Jones should be a fantastic hire. For one thing…he disnt hesitate to bench his starting QB this season. He wont tolerate under-acheiving. So Bray …might wanna declare now.

  4. woebegong says: Dec 7, 2012 8:46 AM

    He has a big job in front of him for sure. I hope he doesn’t try and skirt around any rules, due to the pressure a coach will feel after taking over the program. I haven’t heard him involved in any unsavory tactics or accusations though, so I would hope, he wouldn’t try any here. He certainly has lifted up Cinn. during his tenure there, so now he is on the big stage. He has a lot of work to do in front of him.
    I don’t think Vanderbilt will pose a big threat to his recruiting efforts in the state or in the SEC. If he has a good rep. and assembles a good staff, he will do just fine.

  5. tg1896 says: Dec 7, 2012 8:47 AM

    As a Tar Heel fan I want to thank Vols Nation for not stealing Larry Fedora. Best of luck with your new coach. A competitive Tennessee is good for SEC football.

  6. florida727 says: Dec 7, 2012 9:06 AM

    The only thing I hate about coaching changes at this time of the year is that the exiting coach screws his players that made him the viable candidate that he is. Cincinnati has a bowl game… in 20 days! Okay, they’re not playing for a crystal football, so what? How about showing a little loyalty to the seniors you (allegedly) “care so much about”?

    If the NCAA wants to legislate something worthwhile (for a change), how about you institute a policy that coaching hires cannot take place until AFTER the national championship game is played. Negotiate all you want. No signings, no announcements, until after January 7th, in this year’s case.

    Of course, if some of these schools had an intelligent contract writer, they’d put penalties in place for any coach who leaves before the “end” of any given season. Why not? If the coach is fired, they make out like bandits with their infamous “buyout” clauses. Why isn’t it a 2-way street? Why doesn’t the school (read: players) get a similar sense of protection?

    Bottom line: stop screwing the student-athletes.

  7. sparty0n says: Dec 7, 2012 9:10 AM

    So, who now goes to Cincy?

  8. ronin262 says: Dec 7, 2012 9:13 AM

    Tennessee fans can be happy with this selection, Jones will do well there and has successful head coaching experience in the past, unlike Dooley and Kiffin. It will be a couple of years but Tennessee will compete for the SEC East title soon enough. Jones is what Tennessee needs at this time.

  9. gatorjet says: Dec 7, 2012 9:15 AM

    Ok so Dooley fired for winning only 16 games in three years, but then hire a coach who won 19 games in the same time frame??? And it wasn’t even in the SEC! Yeah I see this as a step forward

  10. chc4 says: Dec 7, 2012 9:24 AM

    This is the best Tennessee can do? The Vol Nation is not happy. My how the program has slipped. The SEC East is UGA’s, FL’s and SC’s for the foreseeable future.

  11. dee6634 says: Dec 7, 2012 9:24 AM

    When is Gruden’s press conference?

    I’d rather live in Boulder.

  12. ruggyup says: Dec 7, 2012 9:47 AM

    Probably just a warped personal bias but, guys named “Butch” don’t inspire my confidence in their leadership. Example, the well-travelled and appropriately maligned Butch Davis.

  13. jimbo75025 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:04 AM

    Well, as a Vol fan this hire does not inspire much confidence. Scarily enough, beating Cincy pretty soundly a few years back was probably Dooleys biggest win while at UT.

  14. whitdog23 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:18 AM

    where’s all the gruden prophets who GUARANTEED he was taking the UT job?

  15. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:21 AM

    Well the last coach at Cincy is doing a hell of a job at his new school isn’t he? May not be a sexy hire, Vols fans, but at least there’s a precedent.

  16. jimbo75025 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:57 AM

    ningenito78 says:
    Dec 7, 2012 10:21 AM
    Well the last coach at Cincy is doing a hell of a job at his new school isn’t he? May not be a sexy hire, Vols fans, but at least there’s a precedent.

    Well, that is true, but Brian Kelly was looked at/brought in as an offensive guru-and ND’s offense is middle of the road at best. ND has an exceptional senior class on defense this year that has played together for quite a while now. Without that, ND does not sniff the NC game this year.

    Throwing the ball around 40 times a game simply does not work in the SEC for sustained periods

  17. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:58 AM

    Spartyon asks “So, who now goes to Cincy?” The Bearcats will probably try to steal Central Michigan’s head coach. Thats where they got Butch Jones and Brian Kelly.

  18. oceanpeaks says: Dec 7, 2012 11:05 AM

    Steal CMUs Enos? Oh, no, they’ll give them to Cinci right about now.

  19. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 11:09 AM

    @jimbo- I won’t argue with anything you said. There is something to be said for the way Kelly coached up those seniors. As far as Jones his teams were strong defensively and in the run game so he fits what the SEC likes to do. My point was that the head coach at Cincy heading to the Vols and the SEC isn’t something that will be viewed by their fans as a ‘Wow!’ hire but the last coach did just fine stepping up in competition. I understand these are very different circumstances. I was just connecting the obvious dots.

  20. sparty0n says: Dec 7, 2012 11:17 AM

    So I asked the question, “So, who now goes to Cincy” and 3 dumb@sses gave me a thumbs down. Its a simple question as to how did they go about replacing Jones. How can that be a thumbs down?

  21. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 11:30 AM

    @spartyOn- that really bothers you?

  22. sparty0n says: Dec 7, 2012 11:37 AM

    Stupidty bother me. Its been a long week. Think I just wanted an excuse to vent toward the dumb@asses of the world!

  23. therealgts says: Dec 7, 2012 11:43 AM

    You are just as bad as the guys giving the thumbs down.
    Not a bama fan but how are none of these schools rolling out the red carpet and the cash for Kirby Smart? He is better than Muschamp.

  24. pricecube says: Dec 7, 2012 11:43 AM

    This feels like Derek Dooley redux. They need someone to compete with Saban and they bring in the guy who coached against Dooley in his “signature win”. Pathetic. I want to know what his buyout is.

  25. shaunypoo says: Dec 7, 2012 12:24 PM

    As a UC alum, you are getting a real good coach.

    And to the numbnuts above, he won 19 games in 2 (two) seasons. It could have been 20 if he stuck around and won the bowl game.

  26. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 12:27 PM

    I think SEC fans are skeptical of any outsiders. Kinda strange when you consider the two best coaches in their conference came from the Big 10 and Big 12.

  27. iu40iu53iu76iu81iu87 says: Dec 7, 2012 12:37 PM

    when they make a sequel to the movie “Good Burger”, will BobG3 (RG3) , the Kel Mitchell clone, be the star of the movie? I want to see BobG3 in front of a camera yelling ” Welcome to Good Burger, Home of the Good Burger can i take ya awwwrder”

  28. gatorjet says: Dec 7, 2012 1:40 PM

    Shaunypoo- show your ignorance much??Jones hired in December 2009 when Kelly Bolted to ND- therefore 2010, 2011, 2012 DO make three years! By the way, first game was an ass whipping by the Gators!!

    Talk about your mid minor league more.

  29. kappy32 says: Dec 7, 2012 2:24 PM

    Look for Bob Diaco to be the leading candidate for Cincy. He came from Eastern Michigan to Cincy to Notre Dame with Brian Kelly. That’s going to be a big hit for my Golden Domers.

  30. irishwhiskie says: Dec 7, 2012 2:33 PM

    Well..the Vols were either being smart, patient, and waiting for the right candidate…or…in panic mode, going down their list of big names. The Jones hire makes clear of the panic. Jones did a fine job with Cincy but I’m not sure he’s right for an SEC program with such lofty expectations and no patience. Kirby Smart was the right hire for Tennessee and they totally botched it.

  31. tlmoon2112 says: Dec 7, 2012 3:59 PM

    Vols should have given Kirby Dumb a shot.

  32. Brian Basher says: Dec 7, 2012 4:21 PM

    Hahahaha!! Clay Travis wants to talk so much trash about Arkansas and we grab one of the top coaches in the Big 10 (who turned down Tenn by the way) and now Tenn. hires a coach from the Big Least. Way to swing for the fences there!

    Travis is sitting in a room somewhere sucking his thumb and crying

  33. rascalmanny says: Dec 7, 2012 4:46 PM

    “Travis is sitting in a room somewhere sucking his thumb and crying”

    That’s because he lost the bet and is now getting his head shaved. I can’t believe he thought Gruden was coming to UT.

    NO big coach wanted to come to UT.

  34. stljag says: Dec 7, 2012 4:52 PM

    gatorjet says:
    Dec 7, 2012 1:40 PM
    Shaunypoo- show your ignorance much??Jones hired in December 2009 when Kelly Bolted to ND- therefore 2010, 2011, 2012 DO make three years! By the way, first game was an ass whipping by the Gators!!

    Talk about your mid minor league more.

    Get your facts straight.
    If you would actually read the article, it clearly states that Jones won 19 games IN THE LAST 2 YEARS. Which he did. He was 24-14 over 3 years at Cincinatti. And he did not coach that bowl game against Florida. That was their offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn that coached that game.

  35. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 7, 2012 5:42 PM

    Brian Basher

    LOL just where do you get this crap about Bielema “turning down” UT? Total nonsense.

    I for one am happy with this hire, Jones is a good coach and he knows the recruiting landscape very well. There is plenty of talent on the roster to work with, even if we lose the Big 3. Praying he keeps Pittman and Graham.

  36. halbert53 says: Dec 7, 2012 6:07 PM

    No established elite coach in their right mind would touch TN with a 10-foot pole. Rebuilding TN is a decade job. Look how long it took Spurrier to build SC. Jones is a good enough coach to get the job done but everybody needs to be realistic that it will take a long time.

  37. pricecube says: Dec 7, 2012 6:40 PM


    He won 19 games in 2 seasons in the Big (L)East. So what? His team got drilled by Dooley’s squad in 2011 45-23. That same UT team had one SEC win in overtime against Vanderbilt. I see no reason to think this guy can keep Tennessee competitive in the SEC. TN is spending almost ten million in buyouts and for what? This does not feel like a significant upgrade. We shall see.

  38. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 7, 2012 6:55 PM


    You dont have a clue what you’re talking about. South Carolina had some serious cultural issues that infected that program when Spurrier took over, they were so deep in fact their fans were totally happy if they won 7 games, and had a few moral victories in the process. The first thing Spurrier did was get rid of 26 players then he started over from scratch. Its not like Granny left him with a winning program. Dooley laid a solid foundation with 3 years of Top 20 classes, the Vols are in pretty good shape.

    And this crap about ‘established/elite’ coaches is total BS too. First of all, that list of coaches is as short as your putz, and coaches like Chris Petersen and Gary Patterson are not going anywhere, for any amount of money. Neither are guys like Gundy or Strong or Fisher. When you are “established” and already making 3mil or more, then an incremental bump to change conferences means absolutely jack-sh*t. Now go away Pinky, I think we’ve covered all your assertions.

  39. halbert53 says: Dec 7, 2012 7:38 PM

    Even an elite coach like Spurrier couldn’t revive TN in under 5 years. There’s some talent there. People like Gundy or Gruden would have been stupid to take the TN job, but SEC East has gotten stronger and it will take longer for TN to challenge GA and FLA and even SC. Hate to be bearer if bad news but Top 20 recruiting classes don’t cut it when competing against AL, GA, FL, LSU, SC and TX A & M. Need Top 10 recruiting classes to be elite in SEC. TN had to settle for 3rd or 4th choice for coach; that speaks volumes about how far the program has fallen and the ineptness in the athletic department.

  40. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 8:42 PM

    All these comments about how Butch Jones isn’t the right guy in the SEC or right fit in the SEC. How the hell does anybody know if he’s the right fit in the SEC? Is there like a rule or even proof that prior experience in the SEC is a requirement to succeed there? I mean Jesus Christ. The two best coaches in the conference in Saban (Big 10) and Miles (Big 12) didn’t come from the big, bad SEC. A coach can only do what he’s given at his prior school with their limitations in budget, facilities, and schedule. Despite what you SECers believe there is no magic formula or magic aura that’s needed to succeed in your conference. Given the chance I believe Jones will succeed in UT.

  41. Brian Basher says: Dec 7, 2012 9:49 PM


    Bielema said so in his press conference

  42. kappy32 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:18 PM

    My bad, Bob Diaco was with Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, not Eastern Michigan. Nevertheless, I expect him to seriously consider the Cincinnati opening. Diaco has been along for the ride with Brian Kelly just about the whole way. Diaco served as Kelly’s Co-Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach at C. Michigan in 2005. Diaco then left Kelly to be the Special Teams Coordinator & Linebackers Coach at Virginia from 2006-2008. However, he reunited with Kelly in Kelly’s last season at Cincinnati, 2009, and served as the Defensive Coordinator on that 12-0 Cincy team. Diaco then came along with Kelly to Notre Dame & has just finished his third year as the Irish’s Defensive Coordinator.

    Back when Butch Jones was originally hired at Cincinnati, following Kelly’s departure to Notre Dame in 2010, he beat out Diaco for that job as Diaco interviewed & was a finalist for the job (Butch Davis was Kelly’s Offensive Coordinator at C. Michigan for 1 year, 2004, and was recommended for both the C. Michigan & Cincy head coaching jobs by Kelly). While I expect Diaco to seriously consider the job, I don’t know if he will take it. After this year, Diaco has been the Defensive Coordinator for two undefeated teams in the past four seasons (2009 with Cincy; 2012 with Notre Dame) & is fresh off winning the 2012 Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football. Kelly has also given Diaco the majority of credit with sealing the deal with most of Notre Dame’s top recruits the past few years, offensive and defensive players. A head coaching gig is always sweet for an assistant coach, especially at a school younger familiar with, however Diaco’s résumé suggests that he should be coaching a better team than Cincinnati. Diaco could very well be a candidate for Wisconsin, or he may be considered for a DC job in the NFL with the numerous coaching changes that will take place this offseason. With the Big East losing it’s BcS AQ status starting next season, the job is not very enticing to a hot coaching prospect. I think Diaco will consider the job, but ultimately turn it down. I think he’ll hope he gets offered the Wisconsin job or gets tapped by an incoming NFL head coach to take his 3-4 defense to the pros. If neither of them comes to fruition for Diaco, he will not be in a bad situation at Notre Dame for one more year. Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious schools in college football & he is getting paid a pretty penny where he is. Diaco is a hot head coaching prospect & when his time comes, I fully expect him to take advantage of that chance.

  43. ningenito78 says: Dec 7, 2012 10:45 PM

    Holy Diaco.

  44. cptcrash01 says: Dec 8, 2012 1:10 AM

    To every moron that think Derek Dooley beating Butch Jones in a football game is significant, check Charlie Stong’s record (who I might add was supposed to be a home run hire if Tenn got him) against Butch. Butch beat him in 2 of the 3 seasons they played against each other, so by the logic you are using Butch Jones is the far better coach.

    Bottom line, give the guy a shot before you shoot him down. As many have stated the two best coaches in the SEC (Saban and Miles) are not SEC born. They are from the Big 10 and Big 12. All of you so called UT fans need to give the guy a chance before being convinced that he will be a bad coach.

  45. ningenito78 says: Dec 8, 2012 1:39 AM

    @cptcrash01- well said.

  46. bozosforall says: Dec 8, 2012 1:44 AM

    Poor old whoreofthebastardvols is in for a rude awakening when yet another Tenn coach falls on his face.

  47. woebegong says: Dec 8, 2012 7:42 AM

    I am curious as to where you got your information about the former Wisconsin coach turning down the Tenn. job. I haven’t been able to find any information about this every happening.

  48. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 8, 2012 10:50 AM

    @ basher

    You’re a damn liar, Bielema never made any such statement. Sheesh!

  49. woebegong says: Dec 8, 2012 10:56 AM


    Did you ever consider that possibly Saban might retire in a couple of years, and Kirby is the next in line. I think he wants to stay in the SEC, and that is a possibility.

  50. woebegong says: Dec 8, 2012 10:59 AM

    According to what I have read, the Wisconsin coach did inquire about the opening at Tenn.. but Tenn. did not make him an offer, or schedule any type of interview.

  51. joewilliesshnoz says: Dec 8, 2012 1:03 PM

    Another rat jumping ship . . .

  52. Deb says: Dec 8, 2012 2:06 PM

    Congrats to the Vols on their new coach. I don’t know that much about Cincy or Jones, so I’ll just take it on faith that Tennessee has found the right guy for their program. I’m looking forward to seeing our longtime rivals become competitive again.

    @florida727 …

    Agree with you on waiting until after the NCAA season ends to begin coaching musical chairs. However, I’d take it a step further and say no negotiating until the season is over. That’s NFL policy and the financial stakes are even higher there. If the pros can wait until the post-season to allow coaches to start negotiating for new jobs, then so can the NCAA. It isn’t fair to the kids for their coaches to leave the team–literally or mentally–before the final games have been played.

  53. shaunypoo says: Dec 8, 2012 3:16 PM

    Gatorjet, spend more time on reading comprehension and less on internet porn. Glad other posters know what they are talking about.

    While I am tired of UC being a stepping stone, you can’t deny the degree of success they have had with so many coaches or the success the coaches have had once they move on. Looks like the AD knows talent. Now they need to invest some money in the program or it will continue to be a stepping stone.

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