Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has officially been cleared to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. It was reported multiple times that Jones would be some sort of analyst and would not be an on-field coach, but Saban’s answer to a question about Jones during a media availability today caught some attention.
Saban was asked after a spring practice session on Tuesday about Jones’ role with the Tide, and he gave an interesting answer as relayed by Charlie Potter from Alabama’s 247Sports affiliate site:
Saban on former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones: “He’s an intern, an analyst. I guess we could have several names for it. He can’t coach on the field, aight. … Today was actually the first day he was cleared by the NCAA.”
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) March 20, 2018
Pictures of Jones wearing Alabama gear and being on Alabama’s sideline have surfaced over the last few weeks, but he apparently only now has been cleared by the NCAA to actually be with Alabama.
The headline-grabber is, of course, that Saban referred to Jones as an “intern.” Vol fans have also been quick to point out that Saban seemed adamant in insisting that Jones isn’t coaching on the field.
Jones was fired as Tennessee’s head coach in November of 2017 after the Vols started the season 4-6 and had just suffered a 50-17 blowout loss to Missouri. The Vols hired away Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to be replace Jones on December 7th.
It’s unclear as of now what exactly Jones’ duties will be with Alabama or what his salary is. Any money he makes with the Tide will mitigate some of his buyout that Tennessee owes him for firing him without cause before his contract ran its course.
One thing is for certain: Don’t expect the jokes about Jones’ new role with Alabama to stop any time soon from Vol fans.