Butch Jones fired: What's in football coach's termination letter from Vols AD John Currie
In conjunction with athletic director John Currie's comments, the letter of termination the University of Tennessee gave to football coach Butch Jones was released Sunday afternoon.
Jones was fired without cause and will be paid a buyout of $8,257,580.00. The sum will be paid in monthly installments through February 2021. The letter also reminds Jones of his obligation to use "your reasonable best efforts to mitigate the University's obligation" by obtaining "another comparable employment or paid services position."
During a press conference, Currie said most of Tennessee's assistant coaches are on two-year contracts and the total cost of separation could be "in the $13 million range."
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"That is mitigated of course as it's quite possible that some would be retained on our next staff, or that they would find jobs elsewhere if they're not retained on the next staff," Currie said. "So we understand that's a significant amount of money and a significant investment and don't take that lightly. On the other side, we're fortunate that we have the ability to manage that without impacting our day-to-day operations, our ability to attract the next coach."
Currie said he reached the decision to fire Jones late Saturday night, following the Vols' 50-17 loss at Missouri. Currie said he met with Jones Sunday morning and that they reached "a mutual decision" about the course of action for the Vols' final two football games, beginning Saturday against LSU at Neyland Stadium.
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"It was evident this was the direction we needed to go for all parties," he said.
Currie said the resignation of Volunteer for Life coordinator Antone Davis had "nothing to do" with Currie's decision to fire Jones. In an email sent to Currie dated Oct. 31, which was obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel through a public records request, Davis said he was resigning due to "constant intimidation, bullying and mental abuse" from Jones.
Defensive line coach Brady Hoke, who will serve as the interim coach, was chosen based on his head coaching experience, Currie said. Hoke, who also had the title of associate head coach, was head coach at Ball State (2003-08), San Diego State (2009-10) and Michigan (2011-14).
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The search for Jones' successor will be Currie's "sole focus" and he will be in regular contact with Chancellor Beverly Davenport. Currie said he has no intention at this point of hiring a search firm.
"I understand the enormous responsibility that goes along with leading a process like this," Currie said. "I understand what's at stake."
Currie said he will not be commenting publicly about candidates or corresponding rumors. He sidestepped a question about whether heading coaching experience would be a prerequisite for the hire.
"There are a lot of different experiences out there that are relevant to our environment," he said. "Certainly, we need to hire someone who understands the magnitude that comes along with this job and the opportunities and the responsibility that come along with being the head football coach at the University of Tennessee."
Currie added: "I believe that the opportunities at the University of Tennessee are extraordinary."