In 2013, Tennessee ushered in a new era of Vols football with the hire of Jones, an offense-driven coach who achieved success by winning four conference championships in six seasons during prior head coaching stops Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
With more resources than he’s ever had before, the Michigan native assembled an impressive staff of assistants and hit the ground running on the recruiting trail in Knoxville by bringing in a consensus Top 10 class during his first season. After his playing career ended at Ferris State in 1989, Jones was an offensive assistant for 16 years at various programs before replacing Brian Kelly as a first-year head coach at Central Michigan in 2007.
During his stint at Division II Ferris State in the mid 1990s, Jones was the Bulldogs’ primary play-caller and directed the nation’s top-ranked offense three consecutive years. He sprinkled in additional nuances to his playbook while working on Rich Rodriguez’s staff at West Virginia during the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the Mountaineers’ wide receivers coach. Jones implemented his hurry-up spread at Tennessee as the Vols move away from the power running game indicative of traditional SEC offenses.
Backed by a history of excellence and facilities that rival the rest of the nation’s elite, Tennessee’s hoping to reestablish its strength in the Eastern Division in the midst of a rebuild following Phillip Fulmer’s exit in 2008. Jones led the Vols to a win over 11th-ranked South Carolina in his first season, Tennessee’s first over a ranked team since 2009.