So Butch Jones is the Tennessee head coach. At this point, this is approximately the 4,3051st post about this on Rocky Top Talk today, so it's not like I'm telling you anything new. Let's get the obvious out of the way: I hope he succeeds. I've read both (well, four) sides of it, so I know most of the details. Jones is 50-27 (yay!) in a career spent following Brian Kelly around (aroo?) and is 2-1 against Louisville under Charlie Strong (yay!), although it took a while for Strong to turn Louisville around so do you award full credit for that (well?) and he has four titles in five years (woo!) but shared the two Big East ones (erm) and can recruit according to word of mouth (yay!) and not by ranking (umm) and national media loves him (yay!) and a lot of us were confused and angry and may still be (erm).
Yeah, parse that sentence again. I'll wait.
So yeah, things are conflicted. Generally, I like the idea of Jones; Will did a great job nailing it that a guy like Jones look good optically for this program, given our last few years. Upward trajectory, no NFL-itis (which is a holy grail for some, but it's not like I make my bias hidden, and this is my post, dangit), and success still counts regardless. I'd be lying if I said I followed his Cincinnati teams closely - and I'd be lying through my teeth if I knew anything about him at Central Michigan - but hey, he seems to know what he's about. To some extent, national media won't pan a head coach right as he signs, but I don't get the sense that everyone nationally is wrong either. We have a good head coach. (We also have a coach who knows how to work his way through a presser, so congrats on passing the first test.) I'm still frustrated with his hiring, though.
Let me clarify; I'm not frustrated with Butch Jones, but I'm frustrated with the process that made us end up here. I talked about this in more detail yesterday, so read up for some background. I have the perception that finances as much as success played a role in his hiring, and I can't shake that perception, not on the heels of the general confusion over the Dooley hiring and the seemingly off-radar hiring of Cuonzo Martin. (Again, no complaints about the latter, plenty about the former.) I'm not convinced that Jimmy Cheek knows how to give an athletic department the resources it needs to not only be successful, but to be so successful it can in turn funnel money back to the academics. That's the golden calf Cheek should be after.
As it is, the administration curtailed athletic donations to the academic program to the tune of $18 million over three years, or $6 million a year. Here's the relevant point, though: that $6 million effectively "freed up" from the athletic commitments to the academic side looks pretty familiar to me right now once I look at the contract.
Here, look at the contract too. Some key points:
- The deal runs through 2019; it's close enough to $3 million a year for us to basically call it $3 million a year, so let's do that. $18 million, 6 years. Great.
- Lookit those incentives! How will they be paid for? Well, it stands to reason that since those metrics are basically success metrics, that means the team will be good if those metrics are reached, save the APR one. A successful team roughly corresponds to more butts in seats and merchandise flying off the shelves, so those can be covered by the increased revenue, I'd reckon.
- I have no clue what he'll do with that second vehicle. Don't ask.
- The buyout's basically 67% of the contract, plus a one-time fee. Based on that, I'd bet we see him for three years at minimum, unless recruiting is awful. Anyway, that's depressing. Let's move on.
- Budget for the assistants starts at $3 million.