Into the second week after Tennessee fired Butch Jones, another story questioning the coaching style and character of Butch Jones has surfaced.
Steve Helm, the father of former nationally top-ranked and Volunteers tight end Daniel Helm, who played for Jones in Knoxville for one season in 2014 before transferring, has discussed some of the details surrounding his son’s departure from the program. And one of the primary reasons focuses on Jones treatment of Helm.
According to John Adams of KnowNews.com, more than a year after his son transferred, Helm emailed for Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, outlining why Daniel left.
“I made sure we got Daniel out of there before Jones put him in a place where Daniel might have knocked him out,” the final paragraph of the email reads. “Then, my great straight-A kid would have an assault charge. If a member of that football team does finally lose it with Jones and an assault charge is filed, we will provide authorities with everything we know as we will not let that man ruin a young kid’s life.”
Cheek never responded, according to Adams and Helm, but the tight end’s father spoke more about it on a radio show last week, in which he described one of the incidents that nearly drove Helm to the brink.
In a team meeting breaking down film, Jones laid into Helm for getting blindsided by a defender, utilizing “slang terms for female genitalia to describe Helm’s play.”
Helm’s dad says that what got to his son the most was that later in the game he blocked the same defender, pushing him down the field and out of bounds, but Jones did not acknowledge that play in the meeting.
Adams reports that Helm “wrote a prayer in his notebook to help defuse his anger, admitting to this father that he wanted to hit Jones.”
Helm was one of four high-profile recruits in Jones 2014 class that transferred from the program following their freshmen seasons and are currently standout starters at other Power-5 programs.
Another former Volunteer, running back Marlin Lane, discussed how Jones treated players on the “4th And Truth” podcast last week.
“I have seen a lot,” he said. “Whether it was physical or mental (abuse). I haven’t seen him with my own eyesight physically abuse somebody. I saw him say some things to players when they couldn’t defend themselves.”
And the elder Helm added that on a recruiting visit Jones read from a Bible to his son, but that attitude didn’t necessarily translate once Daniel got to Knoxville.
“Daniel wasn’t so naive to think that just because someone quoted the Bible, he was a great Christian,” he said. “But he thought he was going to play for a guy with integrity, and it was nowhere to be found.”