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.
Local 8 News obtained a copy of the letter John Currie wrote to Butch Jones about his notice of the university's decision to exercise rights to terminate without cause. But a low-point was reached on Saturday, with a 50-17 loss to Missouri to drop the Tennessee Volunteers to 4-6 this season and 0-6 in the SEC, and Jones was let go on Sunday morning. 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.
Associate head coach Brady Hoke, who coaches the defensive line, has been named as interim head coach and will finish the season.
"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 Sunday that the buyout for the entire staff is in the "$13 million range", though that figure could be mitigated depending on when and where Jones and his assistants are able to find work.
Jones was under contract through February 28, 2021. Tennessee was picked to win the East a year ago but stumbled after a 5-0 start. The Vols were just 5-15 under Jones against AP-ranked opponents and 3-12 against Alabama, Florida and Georgia, their three biggest annual rivals.
Jones stabilized a rocky program, but Tennessee's regression in Year 5 has been startling, losing all six SEC games and facing the real possibility of missing a bowl game for the fourth time in eight years.
The Vols lost to LSU in that season's SEC Championship and beat Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
Jones' resume in Tennessee is more impressive than you might expect with the way the fans have run him out of town.
When Jones took over in 2013, Tennessee had recorded just one winning season in the previous five years and had lost at least six games in a season for five straight years.
When making the next hire, though, Currie said money will not be an issue. He was also the head coach at Central Michigan from 2007 to 2009.
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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