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Butch Jones to Tennessee: 3 Things You Need to Know About Vols' New Hire

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 26:  Butch Jones the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats watches the action during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 26, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2012

Butch Jones is set to become the new head coach at Tennessee after an extensive search to find somebody who could get the high-profile program back on track. He decided to leave the same post at Cincinnati to accept the Volunteers job.

Tennessee hasn't won more than seven games in any of the past five seasons, as the program has struggled to keep pace in the competitive SEC. Now, the faithful Volunteers supporters will hope Jones can lead the way back to prominence.

Let's take a look at some information about the new Tennessee coach, who will surely be under immense scrutiny from the moment he steps on campus. They are desperate for a winner in Knoxville.

 

He's Been Around The Block

Even though Jones is only 44, he's made his way around the coaching world already. He first joined the Rutgers staff all the way back in 1990 and it took him nearly two decades before he was finally given his first head-coaching position.

Tennessee will mark his third stint as a head coach, with the previous two coming with Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Interestingly, he replaced Notre Dame's Brian Kelly both times and went on to have success in both places.

He's a terrific offensive mind, and should be able to take the Vols' 23rd-ranked scoring offense to the next level. Perhaps more importantly, he's seen it all during his more than three decades of coaching and that experience will help him handle the pressure-packed Tennessee job.

 

He Knows How To Lead A Team To Success

Jones has recorded just one losing season in six years as a head coach, and that came after some turnover at Cincinnati. He quickly got the Bearcats back on track and proceeded to win 19 games over the next two seasons.

All told, his career record stands at 50-27 (.649) and his teams have finished in at least a tie for the division title in four seasons. He also picked up his first bowl victory last season with Cincinnati, beating Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl.

A debate will surely rage about how much of his success is due to Kelly setting the framework, but walking into a good situation doesn't always equal future prosperity. It takes a good coach to continue building, and that's what Jones has done twice.

 

Tennessee Wasn't The Only Interested Program

The Volunteers faced competition to land Jones. In fact, there was even a Denver Post report earlier in the week that Colorado was in the final stages of getting a deal done, before he decided to pursue the Tennessee job instead.

Two positive signs come from that. First, it shows the Tennessee job still has some pull. It's a prestigious program that has lost some of its luster over the past few seasons, but coaches are still interested. That's always a good thing.

Second, since there was at least one other school hoping to pry him away with Cincinnati, it should give athletic director Dave Hart some reassurance he made the right choice. All he can do now is sit back and hope it works.

Judging by Jones' prior success, the Volunteers are in good hands.

 

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