It's been rumored for weeks that Vols football coach Butch Jones would be on the outs.
"None of us want to be in this position". Jones has gone 34-27 during his Tennessee tenure and is 14-24 in the SEC. The Volunteers now hold the seventh-best recruiting class for 2018, although it will be up to Jones' replacement to hold those recruits for next season. "I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors". But down the stretch the Vols went 3-4 to close out the regular season, with a loss to SC off the bye week that ended chances of making it to the SEC Championship Game. Tennessee was picked to win the East past year but stumbled after a 5-0 start.
Jones guided Tennessee to back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2015 and 2016, but was just 3-9 in his last 12 SEC games dating to last season.
Athletic director John Currie confirmed Jones was "asked to step down" during a meeting between the two Sunday morning. The Vols haven't won a SEC title since 1998, which was also the year Tennessee won the national championship under coach Philip Fulmer.
Tennessee's top returning receiver (Jauan Jennings), top returning linebacker (Darrin Kirkland Jr.) and top returning tackler (Todd Kelly Jr.) all had suffered season-ending injuries by mid-September. Injuries to quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady caused freshman Will McBride to make his first career start Saturday.
His most notable misstep in that regard came past year when he referred to his senior class as "champions of life" two days after the Vols were eliminated from East Division championship contention. Beginning conference play with a loss to rival Florida was certainly disappointing, but the Vols followed that up by barely beating UMass at home. "The Jones family has poured their heart and soul into this Tennessee football program and the Knoxville community". His record at the school is skewed by a 5-7 record in his first season, and a 4-6 finish this year.
When making the next hire, though, Currie said money will not be an issue.
Hoke is a familiar name to college football fans, as the former head coach at MI (2011-2014), San Diego State (2009-2010) and Ball State (2003-2008).