[divider]DOUGHTY: Chip, Gruden & Peyton Atop Odds to Replace Butch Jones
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Butch Jones arrived at Tennessee in December 2012, leaving his post at Cincinnati take over for Derek Dooley, who was fired days earlier after winning just 15 games over three seasons (15-21). Jones went 5-7 in 2013, followed by 7-5 in 2014, prompting the administration to reward him with a two-year contract extension which would run his deal through the 2020 season. Jones would earn about $3.6 million per season.
"Butch Jones is our coach and going to be our coach for a long time," then-athletic director Dave Hart said in December 2014. "When building a program, you have plenty of challenges in changing a culture. We have the right man in Butch Jones. He possesses a very unique skill set. I value our relationship personally and professionally."
Despite winning nine games each of the next two seasons, he inched closer to the hot seat thanks to a combined 9-7 SEC record in 2015 and 2016. A 3-2 start to 2017, which included an ugly win over lowly UMass and Saturday's 41-0 embarrassment vs. Georgia — at home — appears to have pushed Jones closer to unemployment.
But it's not that easy for Tennessee — or at least it's not that easy of a financial move. If they fired Butch Jones on Sunday, they would owe him $9.2 million. Yes, Butch Jones' buyout is nearly $10 million.
He is now 33-23 in four-plus seasons, including a miserable 14-20 in the SEC, where he's never won the East — during one of the division's weakest stretches ever — and only once topped four wins in the conference.