Tennessee Team News

Fans who had a blind allegiance to Butch Jones are having their eyes opened now

Tennessee coach Butch Jones
RANDY SARTIN/USA TODAY SPORTS

Haynesworth loves UT football as much as anyone I’ve ever known, and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. In an interview with WGOW, Haynesworth criticized Jones’ offense, UT’s early-season defensive alignment and said Jones just needed to go play his clarinet, a reference to a picture of Jones in a band uniform with his trusty woodwind.

For the record, Jones was livid when a reporter discovered that picture and tweeted it. Jones then berated the reporter. That wasn’t the only time. If Jones had an issue with a reporter or critic, he often let them know in a nasty manner. I’ve had issues with coaches before but most were professional even when their careers were in peril. Former UT coach Phillip Fulmer is a great example.

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Here is what former UT reporter Reed Carringer said about Jones on his Facebook account: “Butch Jones was an abusive, vindictive, immoral, tyrannical dictator during his time at Tennessee. He cared only for Butch Jones and would destroy anyone in his path who threatened or challenged him. While I’m happy folks here won’t have to deal with him anymore, I’m sad his players and staffers ever had to put up with such a small minded and hateful man.”

Carringer is one of the colleagues I respected the most when I covered UT football on a daily basis. He’s a good man who has dedicated his life to his family and his two daughters. If you can’t get along with Carringer, you’re the problem, not him. He decided covering Jones wasn’t worth it and pursued other opportunities.

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This all comes back to the strangest aspect of fandom, one I’ve never understood: There’s a blind allegiance to coaches until the bitter end. Fans don’t need to have such an allegiance to be a fan. The institution is the reason to be a fan, not the coach.

It will be interesting to see how fate deals with Jones’ career. If another school decides to hire Jones, it had better realize it would be getting a coach with a unique set of baggage.

(You can follow Dave Hooker on Twitter @TheDaveHooker)

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