Jones is officially under contract through February 28, 2021, and according to the USA Today coaches' contract database, the cost of letting Jones and all of his assistants go at the end of the season could add up to about $13.9 million. Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman was the first to report the news late Sunday morning.
This is Jones' fifth season on the job and shaping up to be his worst since he went 5-7 upon taking over in 2013.
So someone has to be the head coach at Tennessee for the final two games of the regular season, and a hypothetical bowl game if they somehow manage to beat LSU and Vanderbilt and get to six wins. Jones has gone 34-27 during his Tennessee tenure and is 14-24 in the SEC.
Tennessee was not expected to win the SEC East, but they were projected to be competitive in the division with Georgia and Florida.
A variety of names have been thrown around to replace Jones as the 24 coach of the Volunteers, including former OR head coach Chip Kelly, Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. Missouri (5-5, 2-4) scored five Saturday night and the loss dropped Tennessee into a last-place tie with Vandy in the East.
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Please note your obligations under Section 3.1.4 of the Agreement, including without limitation your obligation to use your reasonable best efforts to mitigate the University's obligation to pay liquidated damages by making reasonable and diligent efforts as soon as practicable following termination to obtain another comparable employment or paid services position. Beginning conference play with a loss to rival Florida was certainly disappointing, but the Vols followed that up by barely beating UMass at home.
Defensive line coach Brady Hoke will reportedly serve as the interim head coach for the last two games of the season as the Vols try to become bowl eligible. "I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors". Derek Dooley, who was Tennessee's coach from 2010-12, has none.
However, Jones did help produce nine National Football League draft picks during his Tennessee tenure and his players collected 18 All-SEC awards and 108 received SEC Academic Honor Roll honors. One month later, Tennessee lost 29-26 at Kentucky, which represented just the second time the Vols had fallen to the Wildcats in their last 33 meetings.
He also was a head coach at Ball State and San Diego State, holding an overall record of 78-70. And now, the football program is looking for its fourth head coach in nine years.