Butch Jones may not be going to Colorado, but the head coach has decided to depart Cincinnati and take over at Tennessee, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.
Tennessee confirms Butch Jones is its new head coach— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 7, 2012
The school has since confirmed the decision.
UPDATE: Friday, December 7 at 10:21 a.m ET by Michael Cahill
Brett McMurphy of ESPN is reporting via twitter that the Bearcats will promote defensive line coach Steve Stripling to their interim coach.
DL coach Steve Stripling named Cincinnati's interim coach. 4 UC assistants, inc. OC & DC, could end up at Tennessee— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 7, 2012
--End of Update--
UPDATE: Friday, December 7 at 9:50 a.m ET by Michael Cahill
The details of Butch Jones contract with the Vols have emerged courtesy of CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman.
Butch Jones' deal with Tennessee is for 6 years for $18 million, per a source.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 7, 2012
--End of Update--
According to ESPN, Jones reportedly turned down a a five-year, $13.5 million from Colorado in early December to stay with Cincinnati, but apparently the itch to move to a new program was too great.
Jones went 23-14 in three seasons for Cincinnati and 9-3 this season, leading the Bearcats to the Belk Bowl to face Duke. It's the team's second consecutive bowl game, as the Bearcats beat Vanderbilt in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl a year ago, 31-24.
Those bowls haven't exactly made folks forget about Brian Kelly, however, who famously led the Bearcats to consecutive Big East championships in 2008-09 and berths in the Orange and Sugar Bowls. Despite a weak Big East conference, Jones hasn't been able to lead the Bearcats to another BCS game.
Kelly, of course, is now the head coach at Notre Dame and has the Fighting Irish in the national championship game.
For the Bearcats, this season surely comes with a level of separation anxiety. Rutgers is leaving the Big East for the Big Ten. Louisville is heading to the ACC. And now the team's football coach is leaving as well.
Perhaps Jones didn't like the notion of playing in a conference called the Big East that is adding San Diego State, Boise State, SMU, Central Florida, Memphis and Houston in 2013, almost all of which are notably un-Eastern schools.
It remains undetermined which candidates Cincinnati will interview to replace Jones.