Jerry Scott, Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations
JONESBORO – Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir announced Saturday that Butch Jones has been named the Red Wolves’ 31st all-time head football coach.
Jones not only brings 11 years of head-coaching experience at the NCAA FBS level with him to Jonesboro after previous stops leading the football programs at Tennessee (2013-17), Cincinnati (2010-12) and Central Michigan (2017-09), but he also spent the last three seasons (2018-20) working as part of Nick Saban’s staff at national-power Alabama.
During Jones’ 11 seasons serving as a head coach, his teams combined to win four conference championships, played in eight bowl games and finished ranked in the AP Top 25 five times. He coached a combined 77 all-conference honorees and 27 NFL Draft picks, including All-Pro selections Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce and Antonio Brown.
“Butch Jones’ outstanding record of success at both the G5 and P5 levels is evident, and we’re excited to having him leading our football program into the future,” said Mohajir. “He is the only coach over the last 12 years to lead Tennessee to back-to-back nine win seasons, and he led Cincinnati and Central Michigan to four conference championships over a six-year period. Butch has also worked with one of the most-well-respected coaches in history in Nick Saban the last three years at Alabama. Our candidate pool was fantastic, but following extensive and positive conversations with Butch, while also looking at his winning history, coaching and leadership abilities and vision for our program, we became confident he was the clear choice to be our next head coach.”
A-State will hold an introductory press conference officially introducing Jones as head coach at a later date. Additional details regarding the press conference will be announced when they become available.
“It is truly an honor and privilege to be the head football coach at Arkansas State University,” said Jones. “It is a position that I take great pride in, and I look forward to connecting with our student-athletes to build upon the strong tradition of excellence both on and off the field of play. I am extremely grateful to Terry Mohajir, Dr. (Kelly) Damphousse and Dr. (Chuck) Welch for trusting me to be the caretaker of Arkansas State football.”
Jones has been working as the Special Assistant to the Head Coach at Alabama this season, helping the Crimson Tide post a 10-0 record and a No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings. He was also an offensive analyst for the program in 2018 and 2019 as it compiled a combined 25-3 record. The 2018 team played in the CFP national championship game, while the 2019 squad capped off the year with a 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl to finish ranked No. 8 in the final AP Top 25 poll.
“I am thrilled that Butch Jones has agreed to be our next head football coach,” said Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch. “Butch brings significant winning experience at the both the G5 and P5 level. For the past three years, he’s been an integral part of one of the best college football programs in America. As Butch detailed the coaching staff he would bring, and the plan he would implement for our program, we were convinced that he was the right choice to be our head coach.”
Prior to Alabama, Jones spent a five-year stint at the University of Tennessee, collecting 34 wins and leading the Volunteers to bowl wins three times. He inherited a program that hadn’t won a bowl game since 2007 and proceeded to direct the Vols to three consecutive bowl game victories for the first time in over 20 years (1994-96).
Focusing on the complete student-athlete, Jones helped mentor over 200 academic all-conference winners and 100-plus academic honor roll recipients while in Knoxville. Under his direction, every academic record in Tennessee history was broken with 85-plus players earning their degrees.
“My goal in this hire was to find someone who demonstrated a plan to capitalize on the tremendous opportunity for success at A-State,” said Arkansas State University Chancellor Dr. Kelly Damphousse. “I was seeking someone who could inspire trust of our student-athletes, his staff, our campus community, and our alumni and fans.
“Most importantly, I wanted someone who could accept my challenge to win with integrity. Over many conversations in the past two days, Coach Jones convinced me that he is the right person to lead our football program. My wife Beth and I look forward to welcoming Butch, Barb, Alex, Andrew and Adam to the Red Wolves family.”
Jones took over the Tennessee program after spending the 2010-12 seasons as Cincinnati’s head coach. The Bearcats compiled a 23-14 record in his three seasons while also winning the Big East title in 2011 and 2012. Jones was named the league’s Coach of the Year after Cincinnati’s 10-win season in 2011, while also earning the same honor from CBSSports.com in 2012 after his squad captured its second consecutive bowl victory and finished in the Top 25.
Jones was also the head coach at Central Michigan from 2007-09, winning 27 contests and leading the Chippewas to the 2007 and 2009 Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles. His three-year stint in Mount Pleasant saw Central Michigan compile a 22-3 MAC record, make three consecutive bowl-game appearances and post a No. 23 postseason raking in 2009. Jones was the only head coach to lead the program to consecutive bowl games, as well as the first in the history of the MAC to do so in his first three seasons.
Prior to making his second stop at Central Michigan, Jones was the wide receivers coach at West Virginia from 2005-06. While coaching in Morgantown, WVU combined to post a 22-3 record, including a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia.
Jones served as an assistant at Central Michigan for seven years from 1998-2004. During that time, he served as offensive coordinator (2002-04), running backs coach (1999-2004) and as tight ends coach (1998).
He was also the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Ferris State, from 1995-97 and at Wilkes University from 1993-94 while also serving as an assistant at Rutgers from 1990-92. His original entry into the coaching ranks was as an intern with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987-89.
Jones is a 1990 graduate of Ferris State University in Michigan, where he was a two-year letterman on the football team. Jones and his wife, Barb, are the parents of three sons – Alex, Adam and Andrew.