Update: Tennessee has now announced the change. Here’s John Currie’s statement:
“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.”
Original article below:
Butch Jones will not return as the head coach at Tennessee, Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman reported Sunday morning.
BREAKING Butch Jones is out as #Vols head coach, source tells me. He just informed his staff.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 12, 2017
ESPN’s Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg report that Brady Hoke will serve as interim head coach.
Can confirm reports that Tennessee has fired Butch Jones and Brady Hoke will serve as interim coach remainder of the season.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) November 12, 2017
Was told #Tennessee AD John Currie wanted coordinators Larry Scott and Bob Shoop to continue overseeing their units, so went with Hoke as interim.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 12, 2017
The move comes after Tennessee was beaten 50-17 at Missouri, dropping the Vols to 4-6 on the year and 0-6 in SEC play. It’s the programs fourth 0-6 start to SEC play since 1933, but its third since 2011. The Mizzou loss comes on the heels of a 41-0 blanking by Georgia and a loss at Kentucky, the program’s second loss to the Wildcats since 1985. As RedditCFB pointed out Saturday night, the Missouri loss gave Tennessee a loss in its most recent game against every SEC opponent.
Tennessee's most recent game vs each SEC team:
Alabama – L 45-7
Arkansas – L 24-20
Auburn – L 55-23
Florida – L 26-20
Georgia – L 41-0
Kentucky – L 29-26
LSU – L 38-7
Mizzou – L 50-17
Miss State – L 41-31
Ole Miss – L 34-3
SCar – L 15-9
Texas A&M – L 45-38
Vandy – L 45-34
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 12, 2017
Tennessee also suffered a decommitment from Cade Mays last week, a 5-star offensive lineman from Knoxville that had been committed to the Vols since his sophomore year. As much as anything that’s transpired on the field, that could have been the impetus for Tennessee AD John Currie to move on Jones now and not later.
The Tennessee fan base entered the 2017 season with the highest blood pressure of anyone in college football north of College Station after failing to win the SEC East in 2015 and ’16 despite having the most talented roster in the division. The 2016 season in particular was a golden opportunity for Tennessee with a senior quarterback in Josh Dobbs and a first-round pick in Derek Barnett anchoring the defense. Tennessee ended its 11-year losing streak to Florida and beat Georgia on a Hail Mary but stumbled to a 4-4 SEC finish with losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
It was inevitable that Georgia and/or Florida would rise to its potential sooner rather than later, and Tennessee’s four consecutive losses (Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Kentucky) proved too much for the administration to stomach. Though it is in an undeniably better place than it was when Jones inherited the program from Derek Dooley after the 2012 season, Tennessee still finds itself looking up to Florida and Georgia — not to mention the program’s biggest rival, Alabama — five years into the Jones era.
Jones closed his 5-year run at Tennessee with a 34-27 overall record and a 14-24 mark in SEC play.
As for a buyout, Darren Rovell provided the following information:
$8.23 million: What Tennessee owes Butch Jones. Has 3 years, 3 1/2 months left on his contract at $2.5 million a year.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 12, 2017
Tennessee closes the regular season with home games against LSU and Vanderbilt.
The move makes Tennessee the third SEC program on the coaching market already this season, joining Florida and Ole Miss.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.