Butch Jones out as Tennessee's head coach, search for replacement underway

Jonathan Hernandez
November 13, 2017

Butch Jones is out at Tennessee.

Jones was sacked on Sunday morning, and by midday, Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletic John Currine made it official.

The Vols fell to Missouri on Saturday by a score of 50-17.

Jones, hired at Tennessee on December 7, 2012, as the Vols' 24 head coach, after winning four conference championships in his previous six years, and his staff have done a terrific job recruiting players to Tennessee, but the development of many has been widely considered sub-par.

Defensive line assistant Brady Hoke will assume the interim head coach responsibilities for the Vols. Currie said he was looking for someone "with the highest integrity and character, with the skills and vision to propel Tennessee to championships".

Jones had three years remaining on his contract, which owed him $4.1 million annually through the 2020 season. The liquidated damages will be paid in monthly installments through February 28, 2021. Jones was making $4.11 million per year at 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. The Vols went winless in October and have dropped five of their last six games. Jones has three. Lane Kiffin, whose only season was 2009, has one.

But he couldn't get the Vols an SEC East title even during an era when rivals Florida and Georgia have been in transition. When was this team going to overtake the competition in the SEC East, finally defeat Alabama, win a conference championship and be in the College Football Playoff discussion?

Under Jones' watch, Tennessee's football program dramatically improved its Academic Progress Rate, which had been so low at the start of his tenure that the school was at risk of facing penalties.

Tennessee's regular-season defeat at Vandy also dashed the chance for the school to go to its first Sugar Bowl in 25 years.

"I have tremendous respect for Coach Jones and for (Jones' wife) Barb", Currie said.

Regardless of preseason projections, a 4-6 overall record and 0-6 mark in the SEC was not what anyone wanted to see in Knoxville. He has head coaching experience at Michigan, San Diego State and Ball State.

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