Tennessee Football: 2 Assistants Butch Jones Must Hire

Jason Ellis@@JJasonEllisContributor IIIDecember 10, 2012

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 1: Head coach Butch Jones of the Cincinnati Bearcats watches his team play against the Connecticut Huskies during the game at Rentschler Field on December 1, 2012 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

After what seemed like an eternity, the Tennessee Volunteers finally have their man for their vacancy at head football coach.

That man is Butch Jones.

For the last three seasons, Jones was at the helm of Cincinnati's football program.  While there he amassed a record of 23-14 and a share of two Big East Championships.

Prior to his tenure at Cincinnati, he was the head coach at Central Michigan.  There he accumulated a record of 27-13 and winning two Mid-American Conference titles.

The announcement of Jones as the new head coach was met with mixed reactions.  Some were excited and others started calling the hire Dooley 2.0.

One caller to the Sports Animal in Knoxville went way out saying that Athletic Director, Dave Hart, could burn in hell.  An overreaction to be sure.

What the naysayers are failing to realize is that Tennessee is getting an excellent coach that has won at each of his stops.

Living 20 minutes from Cincinnati's campus, I have watched a lot of games that Jones has coached.  I have liked what I've seen.

With every change at head coach, it leaves the question of who will fill out the remainder of the coaching staff?  

It's a very important question as we have seen in Tennessee's recent past.  Hiring the wrong members to a staff can make all the difference.  See Sunseri, Sal.

With that said, let's take a look as some assistants that Butch Jones needs to hire to round out his staff at Tennessee.

Jay Graham

It is being reported in the Knoxville News Sentinel that Graham looks to be the only current staff member that is going to be retained.  You can check that article out here:  http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/dec/08/jay-graham-likely-only-holdover-from-derek-staff/

Graham is very important to have on staff at Tennessee, for the simple fact that he is a Tennessee guy. He played running back at the school from 1993-96.

He also has ties to the Southeast in terms of recruiting.

Graham was the running backs coach under Derek Dooley.  In his season there, the Tennessee running game grew substantially.  

In 2011, the year before Graham came in, the Vols averaged 90 yards rushing per game.  In 2012, they averaged 160 yards per game, an increase of 70 per game.

Tee Martin

This is the hire that the Volunteer faithful have been clamoring about for a long time.  To see this you only need to go on Twitter and search the hashtag #BringTeeHome.

He, like Graham, has ties to the Southeast and is a former Vols player.  Okay, he was more than just a player.  To be accurate he is a hero in Tennessee lore.

He achieved this hero status by leading the team to it's last National Championship in 1998.

Beyond this, Martin has also had a few coaching stops where he did well, especially in recruiting.  

His stops include:  

  • Quarterback Coach at New Mexico, 2009
  • Wide Receivers Coach at Kentucky, 2010-11
  • Wide Receivers Coach at USC, 2012

If Butch Jones is looking to quickly connect with the Tennessee fan base, then hiring Martin and Graham will be a great start.

It's obviously going to take more than just two hires to fill out this staff.  A good chunk of the remaining will probably be filled with coaches he worked with at Cincinnati.

The best case would be to bring most of his defensive staff from there.  This season they led the Bearcats to a great defensive season, ranking 12th in points giving up 17 a game.

To put it in perspective, Tennessee ranked 108th giving up 36 points per game.

Jones stated in his introductory press conference that he wants to hire the best staff in the nation.  Time will tell if he is able to do this.

He already has one thing in his favor.  He'll be hard pressed to have something worse than Tennessee has had over the past several years.


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