UT Athletics Director John Currie released the following statement in regards to Coach Butch Jones' status at the university:
"Good Afternoon, Big Orange Nation.
This morning I met with Coach Butch Jones to discuss the future of the football program, and I informed him of my decision that he step down as the University of Tennessee's head football coach. Transitions like this are never easy for anyone involved, and I am grateful for the way Coach Jones, Barb and their children have poured their hearts and souls into this community and the improvement of our football program over the past five years. I know that Coach Jones will be successful as he moves forward in his career and I know that Tennessee fans join me in thanking Coach Jones and his family for the many facets of our program which have improved under his leadership.
As we close out the final two games of the regular season—still with the opportunity to compete in a bowl game—Coach Hoke will serve as interim head coach. I know Vol Nation will stick together, rally around this team and support these student-athletes who, despite adversity throughout this season, continue to play with great effort and intensity.
Meanwhile, we now turn our attention to an exhaustive search to identify a coach of the highest integrity and character with the skills and vision to return Tennessee football to championship form. Our commitment to doing what it takes to hire the absolute best coach for the University of Tennessee is resolute.
This afternoon at 5:00 p.m. ET, I will hold a press conference to discuss this transition.
To protect the integrity of our process, following the press conference I will have no further public comments until such time we announce our new coach. This search will be my sole focus and I will be in regular contact with Chancellor Davenport. Naturally, there will be great interest and speculation across the college football world. As I reminded our student-athletes when I met with them earlier today, unless you hear news directly from me, do not assume it to be accurate.
During this time of transition, I am heartened by the ongoing passion of Big Orange fans worldwide. Thank you for continued and unwavering support of Tennessee student-athletes!
Go Big Orange!"
I have full confidence in Athletic Director John Currie and his ability to lead a search for our next @Vol_Football coach. I know that John is committed to finding the best person to lead our program in the future.— Beverly Davenport (@ChancellorDav) November 12, 2017
AD John Currie letter to Butch Jones:
"Dear Coach Jones:
As we discussed this morning, The University of Tennessee is exercising its right to terminate your employment and your Employment Agreement, as amended by Amendment 1 fully executed on December 10, 2014 and Amendment 2 fully executed on December 15, 2015, (collectively, the "Agreement"), without cause pursuant to Article III, Section 3.1 of the Agreement. The effective date of the termination of the Agreement and your employment is November 12, 2017. By the end of Friday, November 17, 2017, you must complete the University's standard exit procedures, including return of all University property (keys, University IDs, computers, credit cards, calling cards, courtesy cars, and any other University property in your possession).
In accordance with Section 3.1.1 of the Agreement, the University will pay you liquidated damages in the amount of Eight Million Two Hundred Fifty Seven Thousand Five Hundred Eighty Dollars and Zero Cents ($8,257,580.00), subject to all applicable state and federal tax and withholding requirements. The liquidated damages will be paid in monthly installments through February 28, 2021. The first payment will be paid on or before November 30, 2017.
Please note your obligations under Section 3.1.4 of the Agreement, including without limitation your obligation to use your reasonable best efforts to mitigate the University's obligation to pay liquidated damages by making reasonable and diligent efforts as soon as practicable following termination to obtain another comparable employment or paid services position.
Nothing contained in this letter or omitted from this letter shall be construed as an admission or waiver of the University's rights or remedies under the Agreement, all of which are expressly reserved.
Coach Jones, we wish you well in your future endeavors.
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics"