Ferris Alum Leads CMU To In-State Upset Win

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. - A Ferris State University football alum played a big hand in one of college football's biggest upsets on Saturday (Sept. 12) afternoon.

Butch Jones, a former Bulldog player and assistant coach currently serving as head coach at NCAA Division I Central Michigan, guided the Chippewas to a stunning 29-27 road triumph over Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.

The Chippewas converted a 42-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the game following an onside kick to notch the win for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) school against the Big Ten Conference member.

"It's a big win for our football team and our football program because it's victory number one," Jones said.  "It's a long season and so to get the first W is always special. I can't say enough about the perseverance of our kids.

"We talked about it day one at training camp because our motto is to persevere," he added.  "Every man to a man believed we were going to win the football game."

Jones' first two seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan in 2007 and 2008 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, and he is just the fifth coach in MAC history to guide his team to a bowl game in both of his first two seasons.

Jones led CMU to 16 victories over the past two years, the second-most of any coach in program history over his first two seasons. His 13 wins against MAC opponents also rank as the second-most for any CMU head coach in 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.