At long last, Butch Jones has been fired as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. He has declined an option set forth by AD John Currie to coach the remainder of the season and will be leaving Knoxville. Defensive Line Coach Brady Hoke will be taking over as the interim Head Coach for the games against LSU and Vanderbilt. Butch Jones was finishing up his fifth season in Knoxville.
Butch Jones Out In Year Five
Over the course of what almost was five seasons, Butch Jones amassed a record of 34-27. That might not sound too bad, but this is Tennessee, and his SEC record of 14-24 was lackluster, to say the least. One stat worth noting on that SEC record is that he was 0-4 vs the rotating SEC West opponent (he forfeited his chance at beating LSU this coming Saturday). He only beat Florida once, beat UGA twice (once on a miracle, mind you), and loss to Vanderbilt twice.
Coming into 2017, his only perfect record against an SEC East team was Kentucky. The Vols lost to the Wildcats a couple weekends ago in Lexington. One other note, he never beat Will Muschamp. He only had a few big wins at UT (South Carolina his first season, and VT and UF, and UGA in 2016), and blew many opportunities at big wins (does the 2015 season ring a bell?).
All The Opportunity, Nothing To Show For It
If you’re still a Volunteer fan looking for a reason as to why Butch Jones was let go, consider the fact that he had quite possibly the most talented team in the SEC last year as it pertains to NFL Draft picks. Yet, with all that talent, AND victories over Georgia and Florida, Butch still botched away the SEC East, and failed to make it to Atlanta. Instead, Florida represented the SEC East in back to back years. And that still wasn’t good enough for the Gators, as Florida fired Jim McElwain a couple weeks ago.
Another reason is the criminal misusage of would-be-stars like Alvin Kamara. Kamara is possibly one of the best rookies in the NFL right now, and he spent most of his Tennessee career playing second fiddle to Jalen Hurd. Once Hurd quit the program, he shined, and left all of VolNation saying “What If?”. He lost to South Carolina in back to back seasons (coming off bye weeks in both years). Throw in several close losses to teams like Arkansas, Florida twice, Alabama, and Oklahoma, and it doesn’t help his cause. However, he was 3-0 in bowl games, so if you’re looking for a very dull silver lining, there it is.
Bringing Tennessee Back
At this point, the obvious question to ask is “Who will be the next Head Coach of the Volunteers?” With all the (G)rumors floating around, it’s a good question. John Gruden seems to be the most wanted man in Knoxville, but Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen has also been mentioned. Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Bob Stoops, Les Miles, and Scott Frost have been named as well, although those are some highly unlikely names. The pressure is now solely on the shoulders of Athletic Director John Currie to make the right decision for the University of Tennessee going forward. “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”, AD Currie said.
With Coach Brady Hoke taking over for the next two games, it will be interesting to see who the Vols put in charge full time.