Butch Jones named head football coach at UT

Butch Jones named head football coach at UT

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"If we want to be the best, you've got to compete with the best," new head football coach Butch Jones said of the SEC. "If we want to be the best, you've got to compete with the best," new head football coach Butch Jones said of the SEC.
Athletic Director Dave Hart introduced Butch Jones as the new head coach as a news conference Friday. Athletic Director Dave Hart introduced Butch Jones as the new head coach as a news conference Friday.
Jones and his family pose for pictures during a news conference. Jones and his family pose for pictures during a news conference.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - University of Cincinnati head football coach Butch Jones was named Friday the next head football coach at Tennessee.

Jones replaces Derek Dooley, who was fired from the head coach job one game short of three seasons.

He was selected after an unusual coaching search in which a number of names were floated including ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, among others.

Early Friday morning, Jones met with Cincinnati team members in a closed-door meeting to tell them he had accepted the Tennessee job.

He then flew to Knoxville, where University of Tennessee officials introduced Jones Friday at a news conference.

Before introducing Jones, Athletic Director Dave Hart spoke about Jones before introducing his family.

Jones' wife, Barb, and his three sons, Alex, 16, Adam, 11, and Andrew, 5, will join him in his move to Knoxville.

He then handed Jones a UT football helmet, before handing the microphone over to the new coach.

Jones spoke with respect about the Tennessee football program and said he would only leave Cincinnati for the right job.

He responded to concerns from fans and reporters about the level of competition in the SEC, saying he looked forward to the challenge.

"If we want to be the best, you've got to compete with the best," said Jones.

He also pointed out that both LSU head coach Les Miles and Alabama head coach Nick Saban did not have experience in the conference prior to both taking head coaching positions at LSU, Saban in 2000 and Miles in 2005.

He drew laughter from the crowd with one response to one question.

When asked if being Tennessee's third choice when the job was his first choice hurt his pride, Jones responded, "Absolutely not. I think I was my wife's third choice and that's worked out pretty well for the last 20 years."

Jones also told reporters that he received a standing ovation from Cincinnati players upon announcing his decision to take the position at Tennessee. He called the team a "family" and said they supported his decision.

The coach turned down offers this year from Colorado and Purdue before accepting the position at Tennessee, which he called his "dream job", saying he watched the Vols play growing up.

Jones told reporters at the news conference that former Vols quarterback Peyton Manning even tried to recruit him to the Colorado position via text message.

He also addressed a big concern for Vol fans - wins. When asked about national championships, Jones said, "This program has done it and we'll do it again."

After the news conference, Jones was scheduled to hit the road to meet with Vols recruits. He said he also plans to meet with current players one-on-one in the coming days.

Butch Jones' Compensation Package

Jones was offered a six-year contract with an annual salary of just under $3 million. He will also receive bonuses for bowls, championships and the academic progress of the athletes.

Tennessee is also expected to satisfy Jones' contract with Cincinnati, paying a buyout of $1.4 million.

Lincoln Memorial University professor Matthew Lyons said the contract was about average for SEC coaches.

"He's in the middle in the ballpark of the SEC coaches, but he's not getting paid as much as they presumably offered Charlie Strong. It was reported they offered him $4 million a year," Lyons said.

Jones was head coach at Cincinnati for three seasons, where he earned a 23-14 overall record and went 12-9 in the Big East Conference. The Bearcats finished the 2012 regular season 9-3 (5-2), and tied for first in the Big East.

Cincinnati will play Duke on Dec. 27 in the Belk Bowl. Last year, Jones' team beat Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.

Before Cincinnati, Jones coached at Central Michigan for three years.

Jones' overall coaching record is 50-27. He's won four conference titles, including two in the Big East.

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