Last week, it was reported that former Tennessee head coach and current Alabama offensive analyst Butch Jones was the first candidate to be interviewed by Rutgers for their vacant head coaching position. Now, however, Jones looks to no longer be an option for the Scarlet Knights.
According to a report from James Kratch of NJ.com, multiple sources have indicated to NJ Advance Media that Jones has removed his name from consideration for the head coaching vacancy at Rutgers. It would appear now that Rutgers has turned all their focus on another name Vol fans were very familiar with: Greg Schiano. Schiano previously served as head coach for the Scarlet Knights from 2001-11 before jumping to the NFL as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years. He was let go by Tampa Bay and served as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator for three seasons before attempting to go back to the NFL with the New England Patriots as their defensive coordinator, but he resigned just a month after taking the position. Schiano, infamously, was set to become Tennessee’s head coach in November of 2017 until fan and media outrage pushed back against the hire and ultimately rendered it untenable.
Rutgers fired head coach Chris Ash after a 1-3 start to the 2019 season, losing in blowout fashion to Iowa (30-0) and Michigan (52-0) along with a 30-16 loss to Boston College sandwiched in between. Ash was just 8-32 in his three-plus seasons as head coach. The Scarlet Knights promoted right ends coach Nunzio Campanile to interim head coach, and Rutgers has gone 1-4 under Campanile so far.
Jones was fired as Tennessee’s head coach in November of 2017 in the midst of the Vols’ worst season in program history. Tennessee was 4-6 and 0-6 in SEC play under Jones in 2017 before he was let go after a 50-17 road loss to Missouri. The Vols finished 4-8 and 0-8 in conference play that season, marking the first eight-loss season in school history and the program’s first winless SEC season ever.
The former Tennessee head coach has been an offensive analyst on Nick Saban’s staff since 2018. He coached the Vols for nearly five full seasons, going 34-27 overall but only 14-24 in the SEC.
With Jones removing his name from consideration for the Rutgers’ job, it remains to be seen if he becomes a candidate for another head coaching position or offensive coordinator position at another school. There’s even a chance he could fill a role on the Scarlet Knight’s staff with whoever they hire as head coach.
Wherever Jones ends up (assuming he leaves Alabama after the 2019 season), his new salary at another school will help mitigate the buyout Tennessee is still paying him for firing him “without cause” in November of 2017. Jones’ buyout in November of 2017 was $8.2 million, and UT agreed to pay him in monthly installments through the end of February of 2021 when his original contract ran out.
Jones is still on the books for Tennessee for another 15 months. But if the 51-year-old off-field analyst takes a job somewhere else, UT’s monthly payments will decrease in proportion to whatever his salary will be at his new job.