If who you know plays any role in the future of Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones, he’s sitting in a pretty good position this morning.
Not only does the Bearcat coach have his second consecutive Big East championship in hand after beating Connecticut 34-17 Saturday, he is not hurting for suitors. And the nation’s hottest coach understands why.
“He’s a darn good football coach,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of Jones. “Obviously he’s shown that in the way that he has taken Central Michigan and Cincinnati to great heights.”
Multiple reports indicated that Jones was on the campus of Purdue on Sunday to speak with Boilermaker athletic director Morgan Burke and get a look at the Boilermaker facilities, and many of those same reports stated that Jones would do the same in Colorado today.
He served just one season under Kelly when the Fighting Irish coach led the Central Michigan program, but he replaced Kelly both at Central Michigan, as well as Cincinnati.
“He’s somebody that I think is going to be successful as any coach where ever he is,” Kelly said.
Jones’ salary with the Bearcats tops $1.6 million, and with the Big East crumbling, thus getting easier to win each year, maybe the Michigan native wouldn’t be so quick to leave.
Jones was reportedly a candidate at Illinois, North Carolina and UCLA last year, but ultimately signed a three-year contract extension in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported recently that the Bearcat administration was willing to rework the deal again in order to secure Jones for the long term.
“I know he loves it (in Cincinnati),” Kelly said. “His family loves it there.”
Jones led the Bearcats to a 9-3 mark this season and is 50-27 throughout his career. With the win over the Huskies, Cincinnati will face Duke in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27.
“It doesn’t surprise me that his name is out there,” Kelly explained, “because great coaches are going to be talked about right now.”