Publish date:

The reality of Butch Jones and Michigan...and Tennessee


Butch Jones is a very good person who also happens to be a very good coach. Butch is also a proven proven program builder. Ask those close to him about why he has been successful and you hear that while he's very good at Xs & Os (and hires excellent assistants, too), what he's best at is demonstrating to the players and their families that he is a family man and considers his team an extension of his family. Players believe in him and give their all for him; and they grow and develop into better football players and better young men as well.

For all of the reasons above, plus his success as a coach and as a recruiter in the state...not to mention his family ties, Michigan will inevitably consider whether they should request to speak with Butch about becoming their next head coach (whenever that might come open). In the opinion of a lot of coaches I have spoken with on this subject, they would be crazy not to have Butch quite high on their very short list. Truth be told, I'd be fairly surprised if they didn't reach out to him, and I'd also be very surprised if he didn't take that first phone call... allow me to explain.

In the entire world there are less than 130 FBS head coaching positions. Half that number are at "Power" football programs. Anyone in the world who were to receive an inbound call gauging their interest in having further discussions about becoming the head coach at one of these schools simply has to take that call. If only just to hear a new perspective on things, you have to. Les Miles took Jeff Long's call. No, Les Miles never was a candidate at Arkansas; but yes, he took the call and by all accounts they had a call that both parties benefited from.

So, when I say that I'd be very surprised if Butch didn't accept what I think is an inevitable, albeit exploratory, call from someone somehow representing Michigan, I think he owes it to himself to take that call.

Over the years I have observed Butch's rise through the profession. He has always handled these situations well and been very communicative and honest with his existing administration. If Michigan were to call, I have every confidence that after hanging up with them, he would immediately inform Dave Hart and I think Hart would understand him taking the call.

Now here's the important part... I believe that Butch Jones' response to that call from Michigan would largely be, "I truly appreciate your interest, but I have a wonderful situation here at Tennessee not only with our team; but also with my administration and our supporters. I committed to UT and have several years left on my commitment and intend to honor that. We have goals here that we haven't even begun to achieve but we are headed down the right path and in time we will achieve them all. I wish you guys good luck with the search and have every confidence you will find a great leader for Michigan football. Thank you."

I truly believe that Butch Jones' aspirations for the rest of this decade are to take Tennessee back to the top and to do it the right way. I don't see Butch leaving anytime soon.