Erik Ainge shared some fascinating commentary Tuesday about how some Tennessee fans view Butch Jones.
Speaking on WJOX 94.5 FM, the former Vols quarterback was asked about the Volunteers coach, who has received heat during Tennessee’s 3-3 start. The Vols have lost two consecutive games, and a daunting matchup against Alabama looms Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Ainge, who’s from Oregon, spoke about how he bought into the lifestyle in East Tennessee during his time as a Vols quarterback from 2004 to 2007. To him, Jones has never done the same in the coach’s five seasons in Knoxville.
“I bought in,” Ainge said on the radio appearance. “I learned how to be an East Tennessean, and it has been the best choice I have ever made. I don’t think Butch ever did that. I don’t think the fans identify with him, whether it be another multimillionaire or the fan who scalped one ticket in [Section] XX for one game.
“Just the way he does press conferences, he’s always talking to the recruits through his press conferences. And I know he does that. And I’ve tried to tell him, and a lot of people have tried to tell him, you can’t do that. You get to go to the recruit’s house and sit on his couch. You don’t get to do that with all the fans that are watching.”
Ainge is entitled to his opinion. And his words hold weight, given his background around Tennessee’s program. There’s a bunch to unpack within his comments, for sure, and little of it is good for Jones.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of Jones. But it’s particularly stinging to hear that Ainge thinks Jones never identified with some fans.
To hear Ainge’s complete interview, click on the link below.
— WJOX 94.5 FM (@WJOX945) October 17, 2017