Butch Jones speaks on departure
Sun Sports Writer
Central Michigan football fans had a tough time seeing Butch Jones leave the Chippewas to become the new head football coach at Cincinnati.
Jones also had a tough time making that decision.
The former Chippewa coach spoke with The Morning Sun on Thursday and spoke about his move to Cincinnati.
“It was an extremely difficult decision for me,” Jones said. “Mt. Pleasant has been by home for the last three years and was my home for another six year prior to that. My kids grew up in that city and my family and I have loved every minute there. It was a very tough decision for me and I hope that people know that when I spoke about the passion I had for Central Michigan and the community, that I spoke from the heart. I think everyone has career aspirations, and I am no different. I hope that people can step back and take the emotion out of (the decision) and know that I made a decision that is best for my family.”
Jones was grateful for the CMU administration for giving him the opportunity to begin his head coaching career.
“I am forever indebted to Dave Heeke and the people in the CMU athletic department,” Jones said. “Dave put his neck out on the line for me and hired me three years ago when maybe it wasn’t the most popular decision. I considered a lot of people there my friends and Dave is certainly one of them. He wasn’t just my boss, he was a dear friend.”
One of the issues being brought up in the coaching transition was Jones’ communication with the Chippewa players prior to his departure. Jones did speak with the players face-to-face on Thursday night to attempt to put closure to the situation.
“I tried to connect with as many individuals as possible and I will be talking with them in person soon,” Jones said prior to speaking with the players. “I want them to know that I love and care for them. You know, three quarters of them texted me and called me to congratulate me and that meant a lot. We built a relationship with each other and those relationships will be with me forever. Obviously I owe a lot to them for believing in me and playing with the passion and heart that they did. We really were a football family.”
Jones now takes over for Brian Kelly at Cincinnati and takes over a program that has won two-straight Big East Championships. Jones knows that there will be a lot of expectations put on him to succeed.
“I look at this as a great opportunity to compete in a great recruiting area like Cincinnati,” Jones said. “I have a lot of ties in the Midwest and it is a chance to compete in the Big East. This is a program with a lot of recent success and it is a similar situation to what I face coming to CMU. We did it once and we will do it again. We are going to build a program at Cincinnati that can sustain success.”
Jones didn’t offer a recommendation on the next CMU coach, but he did give his support to the remaining staff and added that he feels good knowing that he left the Chippewas in good shape.
“I feel like I can walk out with my head high because I know what great shape the program is in right now,” Jones said. “There are great character athletes at CMU, great facilities, great academic standards, and everything associated with a championship program. In terms of the next coach, there are a lot of great coaches on the staff now and there are a number of guys who I am sure will jump at the chance to coach the program. Whoever Dave chooses, I will support and I will be their biggest fan. I only want to see CMU continue to succeed.”
(On a side note, I know some names are getting thrown out for the new coaching position, but CMU has not contacted anyone about an interview or about the job. They have gotten a lot of inquiries, but don't expect interviews to begin any time this week)