Tennessee football: Butch Jones out as Volunteers' head coach
A statement from Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics John Currie:
"I would like to emphasize how much I appreciate Butch and Barb Jones and their sons, Alex, Adam and Andrew. The Jones family has poured their heart and soul into this Tennessee football program and the Knoxville community. We have been fortunate to have Coach Jones lead our program for the last five years. During that time, the program has improved tremendously in the areas of academics, discipline and community involvement.
"Unfortunately, we are not where we need to be competitively. For that reason, I have asked Coach Jones to step down as head football coach. I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
"Coach Brady Hoke has been named interim head coach. I know Vol Nation will rally around this team and support our student-athletes as they compete the remainder of this 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. This search will be my sole focus, and I will be in regular contact with Chancellor Davenport. I want to make clear that we are intensely committed to hiring the best coach for Tennessee."
Tennessee football under Butch Jones
Butch Jones finishes with a record of 34-27 (.557) in five seasons with Tennessee, including three straight winning seasons for the first time in 12 years (2014-2016). Jones led Tennessee to back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2015 and 2016 and to three consecutive bowl wins from 2014 to 2016.
In 2016, the Vols finished in the Top 25 (CFP No. 21, AP No. 22, Coaches No. 24) for the second straight season. Led by quarterback Joshua Dobbs, the Vols put together one of the most prolific offenses in Big Orange history. Tennessee set a new school record for points scored (473), while piling up 5,768 yards of total offense – the second most in UT history. Junior Derek Barnett totaled an SEC-best 13.0 sacks en route to consensus All-America honors and broke the school record for career sacks with 33.0. The Vols capped the 2016 season by defeating Nebraska, 38-24, in the Music City Bowl.
Tennessee finished 9-4 in 2015 with a 45-6 victory over Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. In 2014, Tennessee finished 7-6 and concluded the season with a 45-28 win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl. UT finished 5-7 in Jones' debut season in 2013.
Jones coached nine NFL draft picks during his tenure on Rocky Top, his players collected 18 All-SEC awards and he coached 108 SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients.
Tennessee's academic turnaround during Jones' tenure was remarkable. He inherited a program perilously close to NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) penalties and oversaw an improvement of more than 60 points to a program-record APR score of 972, which easily exceeds the national average. Tennessee's Graduation Success Rate also is stands at its highest level since the data has been recorded.
Jones was named the 24th head football coach in Tennessee history on Dec. 7, 2012.