Forum Index > KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Butch Jones was pondering whether to leave Cincinn

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Butch Jones was pondering whether to leave Cincinnati this week to coach Colorado when he received a text message that inadvertently foreshadowed his eventual destination. It was from Denver Broncos quarterback and Tennessee great Peyton Manning. "He was selling me on Colorado," Jones said. "He said it was hard for a person from the University of Tennessee to be selling somebody to come to the University of Colorado. I wanted to text him back, Come on, I want to go to Tennessee. " Thats exactly where Jones ended up. Tennessee introduced Jones on Friday as its successor to Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after going 15-21 in three seasons. Jones called Tennessee his dream job and said he was taking over "the best college football program in America." It hardly mattered to Jones that he wasnt Tennessees first choice. "I think I was my wifes third choice, and its worked for 20 years," Jones said. The 44-year-old Jones has a 50-27 record in six seasons as a head coach. He went 27-13 in three seasons at Central Michigan and was 23-14 at Cincinnati the last three years. He now faces the task of rebuilding a former Southeastern Conference power that has posted three consecutive losing seasons. Jones agreed to a six-year contract worth $18.2 million, ending a tumultuous couple of days for both himself and his new school. Colorado had offered him a five-year deal worth at least $13.5 million. Tennessee went after at least two other candidates before hiring Jones. During the 19-day search to replace Dooley, the Volunteers contacted ESPN analyst and former Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden, who indicated he wasnt interested. The Vols then pursued Charlie Strong, who said Thursday he had turned down their offer and would stay at Louisville. "Rarely in life is anything exactly what it seems to be," Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said. "Life doesnt throw us all fastballs. It throws us curves, and then youve got some screwballs. ... Youve got to be able to adjust." Jones, meanwhile, was apparently waiting for a job like Tennessee. On the same day Strong made his announcement, Jones rejected Colorados offer. He also had been linked to the Purdue coaching job before removing himself from consideration. Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock said Jones told him Thursday morning that he was turning down Colorado. Mere minutes later, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart called Babcock to express his interest in Jones. Babcock said Jones notified him Friday at 5:15 a.m. that he was accepting Tennessees offer. Jones informed Cincinnatis players at a 7:30 a.m. team meeting. "Its been kind of a whirlwind," Jones said. Jones hiring means each of the four Southeastern Conference teams that fired coaches this year has filled its vacancy. Kentucky hired Florida State defensive co-ordinator Mark Stoops last week to replace Joker Phillips. Arkansas hired Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin on Tuesday to take over for John L. Smith. Auburn selected Arkansas States Gus Malzahn on Tuesday as the replacement for Gene Chizik. Jones will be Tennessees fourth coach in a six-season stretch, not including offensive co-ordinator Jim Chaneys stint as interim head coach in the 2012 season finale after Dooleys dismissal. Phillip Fulmer was fired after the 2008 season. Lane Kiffin coached Tennessee in 2009 before leaving for Southern California. Dooley lasted three years. After winning at least eight games for 16 consecutive seasons from 1989-2004 and posting double-digit wins in nine of those years, Tennessee hasnt earned more than seven victories in any of its last five seasons. The Vols went 5-7 this fall for their fifth losing season over the last eight years. Jones believes Tennessee can recapture its past glory. "Our fan base and myself have the same expectations," Jones said. "Were working to be the best. Were working to be No. 1 every day. Were working to be national champions, and were working to be SEC champions. This program has done it, and well do it again." Hart said at the start of the search that head coaching experience was "critically important" and that he wanted a coach who "knows the difficulty of climbing the ladder in the SEC." Jones lacks SEC experience, but his teams have earned at least a share of a conference title in four of his six seasons as a head coach. "Les Miles and Nick Saban had zero SEC experience when they came into this league," Jones said. After replacing Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly at Central Michigan and then again at Cincinnati, Jones maintained the momentum his predecessor had established at each school. In Jones three-year stint at Central Michigan, the Chippewas won two Mid-American Conference championships. Jones went 4-8 in his first year at Cincinnati, but the Bearcats are 19-6 since and have tied for first place in the Big East each of the last two seasons. Cincinnatis 2011 season included a 45-23 loss at Tennessee. Jones, the third consecutive Cincinnati coach to leave after three years, signed a contract extension after the 2011 season that included a $1.4 million buyout if he left before Jan. 1. Mark Dantonio went 18-17 at Cincinnati from 2005-06 before Michigan State hired him away. Kelly posted a 34-6 record before leaving for Notre Dame. Cincinnati has made defensive line coach Steve Stripling its interim head coach for the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl against Duke in Charlotte, N.C., while it begins searching for Jones successor. "Obviously wed like to find somebody who would be committed here for a long time, and I think were prepared to make those investments necessary to do that," Babcock said. Now that hes left Cincinnati for Tennessee, Jones has plenty of challenges ahead. He must restore a sense of order to a program that has lacked stability amid all these coaching changes. He also must win over a fan base that sought a bigger name and doesnt know much about him beyond the fact his Bearcats couldnt beat Dooleys Vols a year ago. "You dont move backward," Hart said. "You move forward. I think thats what we have to do now as a fan base. Our alumni, our fan base, weve got to come back together as one. Weve got to come back together and get Tennessee football back where we all want it." Hart believes hes found the guy to get Tennessee there, even if he wasnt the Vols first pick. ------ AP Sports Writers Joe Kay in Cincinnati, Larry Lage in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Teresa Walker in Nashville, contributed to this report. nfl jerseys wholesale . -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed veteran free agent receiver Derek Hagan. wholesale jerseys usa . Ryan Callahan scored three goals and the Rangers beat Philadelphia 5-2 on Saturday for their seventh straight win over the Flyers. http://www.nfljerseysusawholesale.biz/ . That Over-The-Hill Gang in San Antonio. No, its not Kevin Durant and those young gunners from Oklahoma City. Nor Kobe Bryant and that perennial Lakers powerhouse. jerseys nfl wholesale . -- Justin Blackmons latest violation of the NFLs substance-abuse policy will cost him money -- maybe lots of it. wholesale nfl jerseys . -- C.J. Wilson got together with Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher recently to brainstorm ways for him to snap out of a recent slump. SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Pavelski knew the game was going to get intense. He didnt realize it would happen so early. Pavelski had two goals, Patrick Marleau scored again -- though only once -- and the undefeated San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Sunday. The game became feisty even before the puck dropped as Ryan Clowe and Alexandre Burrows got into it at centre ice and it remained that way. "We know there is a lot of stake when we play them," Pavelski said. "The intensity was set . . . Id like to stay at the first puck drop but it was before that. Thats the first time Ive seen something like that." Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 5-0-0. Antti Niemi made 23 saves as coach Todd McLellan earned his 200th career victory. "We were ready to go. I think that Clowie getting us going early was huge for us," Thornton said. "Every game against these guys is just a really, super competitive game, and I think we saw that again. Both teams are engaged early." Marleau scored two goals in each of the first four games of the season, becoming the first NHL player to do that since 1917. "It would have been nice to keep it going," Marleau said. "But I got a lucky one tonight and Ill take it." Burrows scored for the Canucks, who had a three-game unbeaten streak end. Cory Schneider also stopped 23 shots. "We obviously dislike each other," Burrows said. "Weve seen them in the playoffs a couple of years ago. Theyre a Western Conference rival and they make for good games." Clowe tied a Sharks record with eight penalties, all in the first two periods, and a career-high 35 penalty minutes. Fights between Clowe and Zack Kassian in the first period and Douglas Murray and Aaron Volpatti in the third were lengthy and bloody. "Were not happy about the penalties and thats all I am going to say," McLellan said.dddddddddddd "I owe Ryan Clowe my conversation. I have a lot of respect for him. I am happy we won with a good, gritty effort." Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton have each recorded points in the first five games for the Sharks Thornton put the Sharks on the scoreboard 43 seconds into the contest, intercepting a pass from Jason Garrison in front of the net and beating Schneider. Pavelski also stole a pass late in the first and scored. He caught Alexander Elders pass, also in front of the net. "I just happened to be there," Pavelski said. "I think he was trying to get some wings on it and I happened to get it." Burrows scored midway through the second period. His shot bounced off Niemis pads and then deflected off the back of Dan Boyles skates and into the net. "We made a few mistakes there that ended up in the back of net," Burrows said. "But I think we bounced back pretty good. We had some chances. We had some looks, we hit some posts. At the end of the day we have to score some goals on our power play." Marleau, who scored his ninth goal of the season, also got a lucky bounce. Boyles shot hit off Marleaus skate and went into the net. "I felt something hit my foot but I was just standing there," Marleau said. "Im just trying to be in front of the net when shots are coming and creating havoc." Pavelski added another goal midway through the third. Notes: Thornton has 46 points (12-34) points in 39 games against the Canucks. ... Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault remains two wins away from 400. ... Canucks LW Daniel Sedin had recorded a point in his first four games. ... The Canucks were 3-0-1 against the Sharks last year. ... The Sharks went 101:27 without allowing a goal. ' ' ' 
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