KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Four out of five people believe Tennessee coach Butch Jones will be back for a sixth season with the Vols next year.
That’s according to an SEC Country internet poll conducted the past few days (through 8 a.m. Aug. 2) that drew 1,451 votes.
The speculation on Jones’ seems endless, even after repeated endorsements from new athletic director John Currie and a Tennessee fanbase that continues to rally around him.
To boot, the Vols currently have the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the SEC, after landing a top-notch linebacker from Alabama, of all places.
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Recently, one Chicago-based ESPN writer proclaimed Tennessee’s hot seat situation “most intriguing,” saying that Jones has to “show more” to Currie.
Currie’s most recent comment on Jones, from Wednesday’s letter to fans:
“I am really impressed by the way Coach Jones and his staff have built an environment of energy and enthusiastic competition among players. I like the confidence and camaraderie of our squad, and it’s clear the summer was very productive from a strength and conditioning standpoint.”
So, hot seat? It’s complete speculation based on Currie’s comments and the transitional nature of the season with Jones breaking in a new quarterback.
Further, the Vols have accomplished more under Jones than at any time in the past decade, improving the program across the board, on and off the field.
But, as Jones told a Knoxville Rotary Club on Tuesday, people get paid by the clicks, and many sports writers are on their own respective hot seats these days.
The fact is, most coaches are one horrible season or off-field scandal away from being fired.
Unless an athletic director puts his coach under fire — like at Texas A&M — or the writer cites a source with information, it’s pure fodder.
The “hot seat” term has become a cliche used to draw readers in, with very few having any actual insight into the situation.
The Tennessee fan base has become a target for such drive-by journalism because the fan base is frustrated, and poor administrative leadership has left it ripe for such stories.
Currie’s presence is slowly changing that, as he publishes a newsletter to fans monthly and is active on Twitter.