Former Tennessee football coach Butch Jones hired by Arkansas State
Butch Jones is a head coach again.
The former Tennessee football coach was hired Saturday night by Arkansas State.
"He is the only coach over the last 12 years to lead Tennessee to back-to-back nine win seasons," Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a school release, "and he led Cincinnati and Central Michigan to four conference championships over a six-year period."
Jones has been on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama since March 2018 as special assistant to the head coach. Tennessee fired Jones in November 2017 amid his fifth season as coach.
He was fired with a 34-27 mark on Nov. 12 after the Vols were crushed at Missouri.
"It is truly an honor and privilege to be the head football coach at Arkansas State University," Jones said. "It is a position that I take great pride in, and I look forward to connecting with our student-athletes to build upon the strong tradition of excellence both on and off the field of play. I am extremely grateful to Terry Mohajir, Dr. (Kelly) Damphousse and Dr. (Chuck) Welch for trusting me to be the caretaker of Arkansas State football."
Tennessee owed Jones a $8.26 million buyout – a rate of $2.5 million per year remaining on his contract, with partial years prorated – due in monthly installments through the end of his contract. Jones’ Tennessee contract ends Feb. 28.
Jones was obligated to mitigate the damages, but he’s spent the past three seasons in a support staff role on Alabama’s staff, and his salary there did little to defray Tennessee's damages.
As of 2019, Jones’ salary at Alabama was $35,000.
Jones' salary at Arkansas State would mitigate the final months of the buyout agreement. Former Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson accepted the head coaching job at Utah State.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.