KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones appears to have Tennessee’s football program heading in the right direction, and the university rewarded him with a raise and two-year contract extension Monday.
Jones’ contract will now run through the 2020 season and pays him $3.6 million a season, up from $2.95 million. The raise takes effect in 2015.
“Butch Jones is our coach and will be our coach for a very long time,” Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said at a news conference.
Hart said the contract addendum, noting the extension and raise would “go through appropriate university channels” and would then be released. Hart also said he planned to give raises to Jones’ assistant coaches without detailing the extent of those increases.
“I’m very appreciative and grateful to be the head football coach at the University of Tennessee,” Jones said. “Our administration since day one has shown tremendous, tremendous support.”
The 46-year-old Jones has an 11-13 record in two seasons at Tennessee. But the Volunteers (6-6) will make their first bowl appearance since 2010 when they face Iowa (7-5) in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jones has a career head coaching record of 61-40 in eight seasons. He coached Central Michigan and Cincinnati for three seasons each before coming to Tennessee.
Hart believes Jones’ accomplishments go beyond Tennessee’s win-loss record.
Jones showed his recruiting skills in February by signing a class that was ranked among the top five in the nation by multiple recruiting services. Tennessee has played 23 true freshmen this season, the most of any Football Bowl Subdivision program. Tennessee started only three seniors when it beat Vanderbilt 24-17 in its regular-season finale.
Tennessee had an average announced home attendance of 99,754 this season. That represented a 4.4 percent increase over 2013 and a 10.9 percent rise from 2012, the year before Jones’ arrival.
Hart noted that Tennessee also had upgraded its classroom performance under Jones. Tennessee had been at risk of facing penalties until it dramatically improved its performance last year in the Academic Progress Rate, which the NCAA uses as a real-time academic measure of every Division I team. Tennessee’s football APR solely for 2012-13 was the highest score in program history.
“We have the right man leading our football program at the University of Tennessee,” Hart said. “Butch Jones has clearly re-energized our fan base. He is an outstanding ambassador for our university, which transcends his role as head football coach.”