Butch Jones, Tennessee Agree on New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2014

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Tennessee has reached an agreement with head football coach Butch Jones on a new contract that runs through 2020 and will pay him $3.6 million annually, the school confirmed in a release Monday.

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart commented on the new deal in the release:

When you are rebuilding a program, you face many challenges in order to change the culture. A tireless effort is required from the entire organization. The most critical piece of the puzzle is leadership, and we have the right man leading our football program. Butch Jones has reenergized our fans base and is an outstanding ambassador for our university. He and his staff have recruited at a very high level in an effort to restock our talent base, and we have made great strides academically since his arrival. He possesses a unique skill set, and I value our relationship personally and professionally. The terms of the agreement extend the contract by two years through the 2020 season, at $3.6 million per year.

Jones also discussed his new contract at Tennessee:

I am very honored and grateful to be the head football coach at the University of Tennessee, and I understand what this program represents. This has been a complete team effort as we continue to rebuild and restore the Tennessee football program to the standards and expectations that we all have. I'm extremely appreciative to Dave Hart, Chancellor Cheek, and our entire administration for all the support they have given us, and I am also thankful for the loyal support from the best and most passionate fan base in the nation.

Following the announcement, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports weighed in on the new contract for Jones:

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Butch Jones’ contract thru the 2020 season at $3.6 million per season..Lots to be excited about for #Vols fans in the near future there.

Jones recently completed his second regular season with the Volunteers. The team made a one-game improvement to finish 6-6, earning bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. The Vols won three of their final four games to reach that plateau.

The extension also comes as the Michigan native was a rumored target for the Wolverines following the departure of Brady Hoke. If nothing else, that speculation increased the urgency for Tennessee to lock Jones up with a fresh contract.

Randy Moore of Inside Tennessee asked the veteran coach why he felt coaching the Vols amounted to a dream job and provided his reply:

I wanted to go into a situation, take over a program that had great resources, great leadership from the administration, a tremendous fan base, a vision, a standard in expectation, a tradition of winning and facilities but maybe they're struggling in some areas where we could maybe go in there and help win. Obviously that fit the Tennessee profile. So, there was a number of reasons of this being a 'dream job.' But, yeah, just TV and following the Vols and all the great players that have played here.

Although the Vols have only made incremental strides on the field so far, Jones' recruiting success points toward further advancement in the coming years. Tennessee had a top-10 class in 2014 and is on pace for another strong showing in 2015, based on 247Sports' team rankings.

Recruiting against other SEC powerhouses is a difficult task, but Joneswho previously enjoyed success at both Central Michigan and Cincinnatihas been able to lean on Tennessee's tradition to start bringing in the next wave of stars.

Though it may take another year or two to fully complete the process, the school has clearly seen enough progress to give Jones the boost now. 

The Volunteers have been stuck around .500 for the past seven years. Getting back to a point where they are consistently in the Top 25 and then eventually fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoff is the ultimate expectation.

With a new contract in hand, it's now up to Jones to make it happen.


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