Butch Jones is finally out as Tennessee’s head football coach. The Vols fell to 4-6 on the season and 0-6 in the SEC on Saturday night in Columbia, Missouri, as the Tigers ran it up on Tennessee to the tune of a 50-17 beatdown.
Jones’ firing was always inevitable, but it was simply a matter of when the school would pull the trigger and getting stomped by Mizzou appears to have been the final straw. Bruce Feldman of FS1 and Sports Illustrated broke the news on Sunday morning.
Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Arguably the most stunning stat, and the best example of the Vols’ descent into being an SEC bottom feeder, is this nugget. Tennessee has lost its most recent game against every other team in the SEC.
With Jones out, the Volunteers join the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels as SEC teams searching for a new head coach. The name that will assuredly sit atop Tennessee’s wish list, and the first person that will have to turn down the job before they move on, is former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. Gruden’s deep ties to Tennessee have made him the dream candidate for Vols fans (and the school) for years, even though he’s yet to say yes.
There are murmurs Gruden would be interested this time around, but that also could be strong posturing for yet another raise from ESPN for the former coach turned analyst. If Gruden says no to the Vols, they’d be wise to kick the tires on Matt Campbell, currently turning around Iowa State, and Mike Norvell, who has done a great job across the state at Memphis.