It’s been rumored for weeks that Vols football coach Butch Jones would be on the outs.
Fans waited with anticipation, hoping that the next loss would be the one that would push the athletic department to pull the trigger. After a 50-17 laugher at the hands of the Missouri Tigers, they’ve finally done it.
Jones was fired on Sunday morning, and by midday, Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletic John Currine made it official. Butch Jones is out, and Brady Hoke will finish out the year calling the shots for the Vols.
The official announcement came through a statement published on the Tennessee Volunteers athletic department website.
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.
“Coach Brady Hoke has been named interim head coach. I know Vol Nation will rally around this team and support our student-athletes as they compete the remainder of this season.”
It appears Hoke is only being considered as a temporary solution; the Volunteers will limp through the rest of the season and try to find a high profile coach in the offseason. Jones becomes the second coach fired in the SEC already, joining Jim McElwain of Florida in the unemployment line.
Both coaches will latch on somewhere else during the offseason, but probably not as a head coach, and definitely not at a powerhouse program.
Jones’ resume in Tennessee is more impressive than you might expect with the way the fans have run him out of town. He’s put together three consecutive winning seasons and bowl game victories. His record at the school is skewed by a 5-7 record in his first season, and a 4-6 finish this year.
Volunteers fans might be saying “good riddance” right now, but there is no guarantee their next coach will yield better results than what Jones did.