It’s become a matter of when, not if Butch Jones will be let go by Tennessee.
The Volunteers coach has put together a 33-26 record over the course of five seasons at Tennessee, including three bowl game victories, and back-to-back nine win seasons.
But the Vols have taken a step back this year, and at 3-5, fans have been calling for Jones’ job for weeks.
On Sunday, reports surfaced that there have been internal talks by University of Tennessee officials about his future as head coach of the program.
The Volunteers are off to a 3-5 start, but remain winless in the SEC. This weekend they lost their fourth consecutive game, and fell to the Kentucky Wildcats for only the second time in the last 33 years. After starting the season ranked in the AP top 25, the Volunteers are 0-5 in the SEC, and might be ineligible for a bowl game for the first time in Jones’ tenure as head coach.
The news comes as reports that fellow SEC rival, the University of Florida, has decided to part ways with coach Jim McElwain. With the regular season nearing it’s final stanza, coaches who have underperformed, or fallen out of favor with their constituency are getting the boot.
Jones could be next, despite stating his beliefs that first-year athletic director Jon Currie was going to support him through the rest of the football season.
If Jones is let go during the season, one of the coaches currently on his staff would likely be asked to act as interim-head coach the rest of the season. Tennessee would court a number of high profile coaches this offseason, but Jon Gruden has emerged as the favorite to be named the next Volunteers head coach.