FSU Alum Butch Jones To Lead Cincinnati

CMU head coach and FSU Alum Butch Jones is hoisted by players after the Chippewas' stunning victory this season at Michigan State (Photo courtesy CMUChippewas.com)
CMU head coach and FSU Alum Butch Jones is hoisted by players after the Chippewas' stunning victory this season at Michigan State (Photo courtesy CMUChippewas.com)

Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University football alum Butch Jones continued his impressive climb up the collegiate football coaching ladder by being tabbed today (Dec. 16) to become the new head coach at the University of Cincinnati.

Jones, a former Bulldog player and assistant coach who most recently guided NCAA Division I Central Michigan to two Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships and three consecutive bowl appearances, will replace the same man at Cincinnati that he replaced three years ago at CMU in former Grand Valley State head coach Brian Kelly, who resigned last week to become the new head coach at Notre Dame.

Jones has continued CMU's renaissance since Kelly's departure, going 27-13 over the past three seasons, winning a pair of MAC Championships (2007, 2009) and playing in three-straight bowl games. He is the only coach in CMU history to lead the team to consecutive bowl games and is the first in MAC history to do it in his first three seasons as head coach.

This season, Central Michigan posted an 11-2 overall record (8-0 MAC), is ranked No. 25 in the latest Associated Press poll and will play Troy University on Jan. 6, 2010 in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

"Butch Jones has proven himself to be a championship-caliber football coach," Cincinnati Athletics Director Mike Thomas said. "I am impressed by the qualities he brings to the table, his knowledge of the BIG EAST Conference, and his desire to succeed. We're proud to welcome him to the UC family."

Jones coached 31 all-MAC performers at CMU, including two-time MAC Offensive Player of the Year and 2009 MAC Vern Smith Leadership Award winner Dan LeFevour, and two-time MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Antonio Brown. Under his tutelage, 13 student-athletes earned Academic all-MAC accolades. CMU was 22-3 against MAC opponents during Jones' tenure, including victories in the 2007 and 2009 MAC Championship Games. The Chippewas were 12-1 in MAC road games under Jones.

Jones' three seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan were among the most successful in program history.  He became the first coach in school history to lead CMU to back-to-back bowl games last year, and he was just the fifth coach in MAC history to guide his team to a bowl game in both of his first two seasons.

A 1990 Ferris State graduate, Jones took over as CMU's head coach prior to the 2007 campaign after having spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at the NCAA-I level.

The Saugatuck, Mich. native and a former offensive coordinator at CMU, Jones returned to Central Michigan after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an assistant coach at West Virginia University under current Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez.

Prior to his appointment as head coach, Jones served as the offensive coordinator at three different schools, spanning eight seasons, and worked directly with 24 all-conference selections in 15 years as a full-time position coach.

Jones filled a variety of roles during his first stint at CMU (1998-2004), including serving as offensive coordinator from 2001-03.

A two-year (1986-87) letterwinner on the Ferris State football team, Jones broke into the coaching ranks while still an undergraduate by serving as intern for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987-89. Upon graduation, he spent the 1990-91 seasons as a graduate assistant at Rutgers University before taking over as the offensive coordinator at Wilkes University in 1992. He directed an offense at Wilkes that led the Middle Atlantic Conference in both scoring offense and total offense in 1993, a season in which it won a conference title and qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.

Jones returned to Ferris State in 1995 as the Bulldogs' running backs coach under current head coach Jeff Pierce and was promoted to offensive coordinator for the 1996 season. He spent three seasons as a Bulldog assistant from 1995-97, including the final two as offensive coordinator.  Jones also continued to coach the quarterbacks and wide receivers along with his offensive coordinator duties. Ferris State, while leading the Midwestern Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) in total offense and scoring offense, won a second consecutive conference championship in 1996 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.

A student football coach at FSU from 1988-89, Jones arrived at Ferris State in 1986 as a walk-on but injuries forced him to quit playing after just two seasons.

Jones, 41, and his wife Barb are the parents of three children: Alex, Adam, and Andrew.

The Cincinnati Bearcats are 12-0 and recently won their second consecutive BIG EAST Conference championship. Unranked in preseason polls, UC's undefeated regular season catapulted the Bearcats to No. 3 in the BCS standings and the squad earned an invitation to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, UC's second-consecutive BCS game.

Third-ranked UC is 12-0 on the season and earned its second-straight BIG EAST title. The Bearcats will close out the season in the 2010 Allstate Sugar Bowl against No. 5 Florida. The game is set for Jan. 1, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. EST in the Louisiana Superdome, and will be televised by FOX.

Please visit this link for the official Cincinnati release: