The Tennessee Volunteers (6-6) will be making their first bowl appearance in four years, thanks in large part to the leadership of head coach Butch Jones.
The university extended Jones’ contract through 2020 with an annual salary of $3.6 million per year. The Volunteers will be facing off against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the TaxSlayer Bowl (Jaxsonville, FL) on Friday Jan. 2.
“I am very honored and grateful to be the head football coach at the University of Tennessee, and I understand what this program represents,” said Jones. “This has been a complete team effort as we continue to rebuild and restore the Tennessee football program to the standards and expectations that we all have.”
Athletic Director Dave Hart had high praise for the job Jones has done since taking over in Knoxville.
“Butch Jones is our coach and going to be our coach for a long time,” Hart stated “When building a program, you have plenty of challenges in changing a culture. We have the right man in Butch Jones. He possesses a very unique skill set. I value our relationship personally and professionally.”
Jones has been relentless on the recruiting trail since taking over the Volunteers in 2o13. According to Rivals.com, Tennessee currently holds the fifth best 2015 class and finished with the fifth best class in 2014.
Although some may view a 6-6 season as a failure, the Volunteers were very competitive in 2014 and fans should be very excited about the future in Knoxville. Tennessee was forced to play a plethora of freshmen and sophomores which will certainly pay off down the road. Jones played 23 true freshmen this season, which led the country.
Some believe Tennessee is a dark horse to win the SEC East in 2015. If that were to occur, it would be a huge step in the right direction for the program to get back to their winning ways.
*Section Photo credit to Joe Robbins, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Randy Sartin, USA Today Sports.