NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Butch Jones of the Cincinnati Bearcats reacts during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Stadium on November 19, 2011 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Photo by Patrick …
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati announced Friday morning that Butch Jones will leave his head football coach job with the Bearcats for a head coaching job at the University of Tennessee.
Effective immediately, Jones is no longer the head coach at UC and the Volunteers have already welcomed him with open arms as the 24th head coach of their SEC conference football program. The details of Jones' contract with the Knoxville, Tenn., university have not yet been released.
"I would like to thank Butch Jones for his time at the University of Cincinnati,” UC Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said in a news release. “With that said, we are excited about the future of this program and this job will be extremely attractive nationally. Our search will begin immediately.”
There will be a press conference at UC at 10 a.m. regarding Jones' departure. Also, a press conference will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the University of Tennessee to introduce Jones as the new head coach.
In a text message to 9 News' Dennis Janson, Butch Jones said "Just couldn't pass on this one. Hope u understand, kids were great in meeting."
Over the past week, Jones has battled reports that he spoke with officials from several universities about coaching jobs. Jones has denied reports he accepted any offers and on Thursday he put some of the rumors to rest when he withdrew his name from consideration as the University of Colorado head coach. He reportedly turned down a five-year, $13.5 million contract offer to become the head football coach at CU.
Jones was slated to make $1.6 million in 2013 at UC, but administrators reportedly said they were willing to rework his contract again this year to keep Jones.
Steve Stripling, a 30-year coaching veteran who joined the UC staff in 2010, was named interim head coach.
"It's our job to make sure our football program continues to operate at a high level,” Babcock said in the release. “It is also our responsibility to make sure our student-athletes, especially our 24 seniors playing in their final game as Bearcats, have a great experience in the Belk Bowl. We will do everything we can to make that happen."
This season, Jones led Cincinnati to a share of the Big East Conference championship for the second year in a row. The Bearcats, led by Stripling, will face Duke (6-6) in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
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He was a Case law student when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990 but not long after found himself a young lawyer fighting in South Africa for the legally oppressed and eventually face to face in conversation with Mandela.