U-Tennessee Sacks Saugatuck's Butch Jones as Grid Coach

U-Tennessee Sacks Saugatuck's Butch Jones as Grid Coach

U-Tennessee Sacks Saugatuck's Butch Jones as Grid Coach

Butch Jones clearly had a short leash, a scalding hot seat or whatever the preferred phrase is for a coach who will be unemployed soon.

The Vols were blown out 50-17 by Missouri on Saturday and then Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman reported early Sunday that Jones informed his staff that he had been fired. Ever since back-to-back home losses to Georgia and SC earlier this season, it has seemed likely that Tennessee would move in a different direction at the end of the year.

Brady Hoke, the former Oregon Ducks defensive coordinator who was Tennessee's defensive line coach, takes over as interim head coach.

"An exhaustive search is underway for a person of the highest integrity and character with the skills and vision to propel Tennessee to championships", Currie said. "I want to make clear that we are intensely committed to hiring the best coach for Tennessee".

Jones was making $4.1 million annually and has a contract that runs through February 28, 2021. Jones was making $4.11 million per year at Tennessee. He'll be owed a buyout in excess of $8 million, although he's required to seek comparable employment to mitigate the damages. He's put together three consecutive winning seasons and bowl game victories. He struggled to get the Vols on table footing in SEC competition, posting a 14-24 record against conference foes and was unable to get the program over the hump against rival Florida, Georgia and Alabama consistently.

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Tennessee hasn't reached the SEC championship game since 2007 and hasn't won a conference title since its 1998 national championship season.

Tennessee, which opened the season ranked 25th, has lost its first six SEC games by an average margin of 21.2 points.

If Tennessee wanted to wait until after the season to make a coaching change, the football team's lack of success made that an increasingly hard choice. In 2015, Tennessee lost to Florida, keeping the Vols from Atlanta.

"I have tremendous respect for Coach Jones and for (Jones' wife) Barb", Currie said. Previously, Butch was the head coach at the University of Cincinnati and was also the head coach at Central Michigan.

Regardless of preseason projections, a 4-6 overall record and 0-6 mark in the SEC was not what anyone wanted to see in Knoxville.

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