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.'"
That's 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.
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.
During the 19-day search, Tennessee went after Jon Gruden and Louisville's Charlie Strong.