Butch Jones

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Months later, Tennessee brings down image of fired Butch Jones


With Butch Jones rumored to be very close to joining Nick Saban as an analyst at Alabama, Tennessee is finally getting around to tearing down a giant image of the former Vols head coach from Neyland Stadium’s scoreboard.

On Monday morning, workers showed up on the scene in Knoxville to begin removing an image of Jones that has been hovering over the campus on the back of the scoreboard in Neyland Stadium, much to the chagrin of Tennessee faithful. Jones was fired as head coach back in November, yet the image of Jones remained on the scoreboard for months, even well after Tennessee hired its new head coach, Jeremy Pruitt.

The scoreboard actually has three separate images plastered to it. What replaces him remains to be seen, although an image of Pruitt would seem likely. The other images on the scoreboard are of former Tennessee head coach Gen. Robert Neyland, whom the stadium is named after, and Reggie White. White’s image will also be removed, and an updated image of Neyland will be added. A possible replacement for either Jones or White could be Peyton Manning, although that is pure speculation.

Tennessee commit says Butch Jones said “find a place to go, quickly”

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As Butch Jones was in the process of informing his staff and others of his departure from the program, it seems he found some time to reach out to players he had gotten to commit to Tennessee in the upcoming recruiting cycle. And rather than reaffirm the players’ decisions to commit to the program, Jones went the other way and allegedly started advising them to re-open their recruitment.

In a report by The Orlando Sentinel, Tennessee Class of 2018 commit Tanner Ingle claims he spoke to the former Vols head coach earlier on Sunday and was told he should start pursuing other options. The three-star athlete (according to Rivals) from Orlando said Jones seemed surprised by the move happening as quickly as it did and said Jones will reach out to him should he find another coaching gig soon enough.

“I spoke with Coach Jones about 30 minutes ago,” the Orlando Dr. Phillips defensive back said about 12:30 Sunday afternoon. “He said he didn’t really expect that to happen, but it did so he told me to find a place to go, quickly … and that if he gets anything he will contact me.”

Ingle reportedly is not changing his commitment status with Tennessee, although his recruitment remains open with an official visit to NC State remains on the agenda. Virgina Tech is also reportedly in the mix for his recruitment.

Under Jones, Tennessee had been lauded for bringing in some solid recruiting classes. The problem was being able to take those classes and developing the talent to build a consistent winning program. As witnessed at Tennessee, you can bring in all the talent you can but you still have to find a way to take that potential to the next level.

Tennessee AD comments on firing of Butch Jones

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After initial reports on Sunday broke the news of the latest coaching change in college football, Tennessee Athletics Director John Currie has now confirmed it through a statement. Butch Jones is out as the head coach of the Vols, and Brady Hoke is officially the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

“I would like to emphasize how much I appreciate Butch and Barb Jones and their sons, Alex, Adam and Andrew,” the statement form Currie reads. “The Jones family has poured their heart and soul into this Tennessee football program and the Knoxville community. We have been fortunate to have Coach Jones lead our program for the last five years. During that time, the program has improved tremendously in the areas of academics, discipline and community involvement.”

“Unfortunately, we are not where we need to be competitively. For that reason, I have asked Coach Jones to step down as head football coach. I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Some reports suggested Jones was given the option of coaching out the remainder of the season, only to have Jones turn down the offer. If that offer was extended, it was probably the best call Jones could make given the circumstances.

Tennessee was 34-27 in five seasons under Jones and 3-0 in bowl games, but the program was clearly in need of new direction as Jones’ tactics were not having the kind of impact and success Tennessee had hoped to see by now.

Hoke last acted as a head coach during 2014 in his final season with the Michigan Wolverines. Hoke has a career coaching record of 78-70 between three jobs with Ball State, San Diego State and Michigan.

UPDATE (5:57 p.m. ET): Jones will be receiving quite the lofty buyout, according to a release from Tennessee. Because Jones was let go without cause, he will be entitled to be paid a buyout of $8,257,580.00, unless there are any deals between the two sides to agree to a reduced buyout.

Report: Butch Jones out at Tennessee; Brady Hoke named interim head coach

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Tennessee is preparing to rebuild their program brick by brick, once again. Following yet another dismal performance in SEC play, Tennessee will reportedly cut ties with head coach Butch Jones. Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated was among the first to report the development out of Knoxville, via Twitter. Chris Low of ESPN added Brady Hoke will take over as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

The news comes one day after Tennessee lost at Missouri, 50-17. The loss dropped the Vols to 4-6, putting them on the brink of being eliminated from postseason contention. Tennessee is now 0-6 in SEC play with LSU and Vanderbilt remaining in conference play. Hired at the end of the 2012 season, Jones had coached Tennessee to a 34-27 record in the span of five years with some highly-rated recruiting classes along the way with a bowl record of 3-0, but the Vols were clearly heading in a downward spiral despite back-to-back 9-win seasons the past two seasons. A trend of either not being able to live up to expectations and becoming a program running on gimmicks like catchphrases, life championships, and sideline trash cans had led Tennessee to be disrespected from within and from outside. But the results on the field ultimately matter the most, and Jones and Tennessee had established quite the disturbing trends on the field.

During Jones’ run as head coach of the Vols, Tennessee appeared to have a wide-open window to take advantage of the struggles of their division opponents. Unfortunately for Tennessee, the Vols were never able to seize the division at a time when Florida was going through some struggles and Georgia had their hiccups. Tennessee failing to capture a division crown despite the lofty expectations and solid recruiting classes became the ultimate failure of the program, and now Jones is left paying the price for those missed opportunities.

Where Tennessee goes from here should be wildly entertaining as they now join division rival Florida on the lookout for a new head coach. The Tennessee job should be an attractive one and the right coach should be able to get things turned around relatively quickly.

The Tennessee job is now the third coaching opening in the SEC. In addition to Tennessee and Florida, Ole Miss will also be looking to hire a new head coach after cutting the cord with Hugh Freeze before the start of the season.

Vol For Life Antone Davis reportedly rips Butch Jones in resignation letter

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Former Tennessee football player Antone Davis may consider himself a Vol For Life, but he sure as heck wants no connection to current head coach Butch Jones. In a resignation letter to step away from his role as the Vol For Life coordinator, Davis did not mince words with his thoughts on the head coach of the football program that is under constant fire week by week.

In a resignation letter to Tennessee AD John Currie dated on October 31, according to a report from Jimmy Hyams of Sports Radio WNML in Knoxville, reportedly claimed working with Jones was “one of the worst work experiences” he had. There may have been more involved in Davis’ decision to resign from his position. Per the report, Davis claimed he had not received a merit raise, although he did receive a school-mandated raise between 1.5 and 3.0 percent.

From the WNML report, Davis wrote;

“I want you to know that I am not leaving Tennessee because I want to,’’ Davis wrote in the email. “I am leaving because I must. My biggest regret and fear is that I am leaving behind student-athletes and co-workers that may be subjected to the same treatment I have received.’’

Davis also wrote: “In closing, I deeply regret that things have been allowed to transpire, causing a high level of anxiety and other health issues thus creating my need to resign.’’

Jones has previously received a public endorsement from former Vols quarterback Peyton Manning, but the way things have been going for the program have led some former players to sound off with their anger directed at Jones. Jones has managed to survive this long while Florida has made a coaching change. We’ll see how much longer he can hold on to the job.