12.7.2012 Update: Butch to Tennessee.
After visiting the University of Colorado on Monday and flirting with both them and his current employer the University of Cincinnati for almost a week, he has turned down the Buffaloes’ head coaching job. CU’s offer was reportedly $13.5 million over a 5-year life of the contract which came out to $2.7 million per year, roughly a $1 million raise from what Butch is making with his current contract at UC.
But now two new suitors might come asking for Jones’ services. As I mentioned last weekend, it’s not surprising that Butch has become such a hot commodity in the last month or so. As a result he’s already garnered offers from Purdue and Colorado, both of which he turned down. However in that same piece I also mentioned Tennessee as potential school that might come calling. My explanation verbatim:
Butch has yet to officially interview with the Volunteers but there hasn’t been any indication that he hasn’t been contacted by them. Heck, NC State hired Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren right under almost everyone’s nose. Obviously the Vols boast a raucous, loyal fanbase and some of the best football facilities in the country with enough money to pay Butch and his assistants anything they could possibly ask for. Plus UT is located in the heart of Jones’ recruiting ties to Memphis, Atlanta, and Florida. While little-to-no chatter has been leaked between Tennessee and the UC head coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if they expressed interest at some point this offseason.
Clearly the Tennessee job isn’t what it used to be, as evidenced by coaches such as Charlie Strong, Mike Gundy, Jim Mora, and Larry Fedora turning them down. Even Jon Gruden said, “No” after being offered for a 3rd time. So clearly something smells fishy in Knoxville. But the Vols would be a good fit for Butch and they could pay him handsomely.
Another program to keep an eye on is Wisconsin. Earlier this week Bret Bielema accepted the vacant Arkansas Razorbacks job causing the head coaching position in Madison to fly open. This one worries me because of Butch Jones’ Midwestern roots and the kind of money Wisconsin could pay him. Also it would be a logical step into the Big Ten. Plus it’s not like the Badgers’ football program is in bad shape, they still sellout most if not all of their games, have strong donor support, and a very good team. There would have to be some adjustment from the power-run schemes under Bielema to the read-option schemes of Butch Jones but that would be the only real hurdle. However making that change at Michigan from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez didn’t really work out and Rich-Rod is one of Jones’ oldest and most respected mentors.
Overall, until Butch Jones flat out claims that he will be coaching at Cincinnati next year, I will be cautious of another program poaching him in the next couple of days.