After striking out on some bigger names, Tennessee is hiring the head man from Cincinnati.
As first reported by VolQuest.com (as best as I can tell), Tennessee will have Butch Jones as its new head coach:
After some 18 days, numerous interviews and a couple of very public rejections, Tennessee appears to have found its football coach --- and it's someone who wanted the job all along.
Butch Jones, who spent the previous three seasons as the University of Cincinnati's head coach, has agreed in principle to end the Volunteers' journey through the coaching desert.
Jones is 50-27 as a head coach across three seasons at Central Michigan and three at Cincinnati. He succeeded Brian Kelly at both jobs. In his first season at CMU in 2007, his quarterback Dan LeFevour became only the second QB ever to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 after Vince Young. He won two MAC titles there, the second coming on an 11-2 overall record in this third season. His first at Cincinnati was a rough 4-8 year, as the team was dealing with enormous losses from graduation. He turned it around with a 10-3 campaign in 2011, tying for first in the Big East (though losing the BCS bid on the tiebreaker). His team this year is 9-3 and will likely get to 10 wins again as it's facing Duke in the Belk Bowl.
Jones is a great get, one who had gained attention from Colorado among others with openings this offseason. He's one of the best couple of coaches available and willing to jump to a new job this winter. It may have been a messy process, but Tennessee is still ending up with about the best coach it could have from the start.