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November 23 2017, 08:32 | Van Peters
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Tennessee fired coach Butch Jones on Sunday with two games left in a regular season in which the Volunteers started ranked but are now still winless in the Southeastern Conference. The coach arguably should have been fired then, yet the athletic department either just didn't want to make a change at midseason or wanted to see if Jones could somehow turn this season around.
Two weeks ago, the Volunteers lost at Kentucky 29-26, only its second loss to the Wildcats in the past 33 years.
Associate head coach Brady Hoke, who coaches the defensive line, has been named as interim head coach and will finish the season.
Tennessee hired Jones away from Cincinnati to replace Derek Dooley following the 2012 season. Missouri (5-5, 2-4) scored five Saturday night and the loss dropped Tennessee into a last-place tie with Vandy in the East.
Tennessee hasn't reached the SEC championship game since 2007 and hasn't won a conference title since its 1998 national championship season.
However, Jones was never able to take UT back to the SEC Championship game.
With Jones" axing, Tennessee said it will now conduct an "exhaustive search' to look for its fifth coach in 11 years.
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.
What did Jones tell him? Ish Witter ran for 216 yards and Rountree put up 156 yards. Tennessee's average home attendance climbed from 89,965 the year before Jones' arrival to 100,968 last season. The Vols followed up that Georgia defeat by losing four of their next five games.