Multiple sources inside the University of Tennessee football program have told MrSEC.com that the Volunteers have offered their head coaching position to Cincinnati’s Butch Jones Thursday night. Jones has been pursued by Purdue and Colorado this offseason and the coach turned down the Buffaloes’ offer earlier today.
Tennessee was turned down by Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Louisville’s Charlie Strong on Wednesday.
(What will Jon Gruden think?)
UPDATE – UT athletic director Dave Hart is believed to have met with Jones in Kentucky on Thursday evening. According to two sources in the UT football program — as noted above — an offer was extended. The site FootballScoop.com also reported Thursday: “Sources tell us that Butch Jones has been offered the job. No decision expected tonight.”
Meanwhile, in typical fashion for this Tennessee search, the site GoVols247 (behind a paywall) — a partner website of The Knoxville News Sentinel — reports that some UT boosters may be making a late push encouraging Vol brass to speak with Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
Perhaps the Volunteers will double-offer Jones and Smart as they double-offered Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong earlier this week. If Tennessee is like every other school out there, Vol officials will still deny offering anyone but the person who finally accepts their job.
Remarkably, messageboard rumors continue to claim Gruden’s deal is done and he will be announced as UT’s new head coach soon. (Which would make the Vols’ trek from Gundy to Strong to Jones to perhaps Smart the longest, widest screen of smoke since Chicago burned in 1871.)