KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – As Tennessee proceeds at a deliberate pace to replace Dave Hart as athletic director, the most ironic hire would be Mike Bohn of Cincinnati.
Four years ago, Bohn thought he had a coach hired when Bohn was AD at Colorado. That coach: Butch Jones.
The first week of December 2012, Jones, then coach at Cincinnati, interviewed at Purdue and Colorado. Both were “public” interviews because Jones wanted to see each school’s campus.
During his Colorado interview, Jones was videotaped in a vehicle with Bohn by chasing media. It was almost reminiscent of O.J. Simpson in a white bronco.
Jones told Bohn he would take the Colorado job, according to Woody Paige, columnist for the Denver Post for 35 years and a guest on ESPN’s Around the Horn. When that news broke, Jones was doing a news conference in Charlotte at the Belk Bowl, where Cincinnati was preparing to play Duke.
Cincinnati’s sports information director was upset.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Ryan Koslen asked Jones.
“Tell you what?’” Jones said.
Despite Bohn’s claims, Jones said he never accepted the job.
After Louisville’s Charlie Strong took the Tennessee job, then reneged on December 5, Jones got a call from Tennessee. There was a meeting with both sides in Lexington, Ky., December 6-7, and an agreement was reached during the meeting that Jones would replace Derek Dooley as Tennessee’s coach.
Paige believes the Tennessee offer caused Jones to change his mind about Colorado.
Bohn then hired Mike MacIntyre, who led Colorado to a division title and a berth in the Pac-12 championship game last month. Bohn’s two previous football hires at Colorado failed: Dan Hawkins (16-33 in five years) and Jon Embree (4-21 in two years).
Bohn was “encouraged to resign” by the Colorado administration May 28, 2013. Some speculated it had to do with not hiring Jones. Paige disputes that. Paige said it was due to Bohn’s lack of fund raising and not-so-good relationship with Colorado’s president.
Bohn, who was at Colorado from 2005-13, was hired in February 2014 at Cincinnati. He replaced Whit Babcock, now AD at Virginia Tech.
Babcock is believed to be another AD candidate at Tennessee because of his close relationship with Jones. Babcock was Jones’ AD at Cincinnati before Jones left for Tennessee.
Tennessee’s chancellor-elect is Beverly Davenport, who arrives from Cincinnati. She begins her tenure at Tennessee on February 15.
Bohn is believed to be a candidate at Tennessee because of Davenport.
Raja Jubran, vice chairman of the UT Board of Trustees, said UT will form a search committee and likely hire a search firm to help hire an athletic director. He said the AD hire might not take place until April or May. Hart’s contract expires June 30.
Meanwhile, Paige, a UT graduate, is fond of Bohn. “He’s a great athletic director,” Paige said.
(You can follow Jimmy Hyams on Twitter @JimmyHyams)
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