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Tennessee fires Butch Jones in fifth season

(Photo by Scott Kane/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Tennessee fired fifth-year head coach Butch Jones after another blowout loss, the school announced Sunday.

Volunteers athletic director John Currie told Jones on Sunday morning that he was being fired with two games left in the regular season.

"Unfortunately, we are not where we need to be competitively," Currie said in a statement. "For that reason, I have asked Coach Jones to step down as head football coach. I know Coach Jones will be successful moving forward, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Currie said defensive line coach Brady Hoke will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Hoke, the former head coach at Michigan, is in his first year at Tennessee.

"I know Vol Nation will rally around this team and support our student-athletes as they complete the remainder of this season," Currie said in his statement.

"An exhaustive search is underway for a person of the highest integrity and character with the skills and vision to propel Tennessee to championships. This search will be my sole focus, and I will be in regular contact with Chancellor (Beverly) Davenport. I want to make clear that we are intensely committed to hiring the best coach for Tennessee."

Tennessee, winless this season in the SEC, was blown out 50-17 at Missouri on Saturday, the Vols' fifth loss in their past six games. Tennessee, 4-6 overall and 0-6 in the SEC, in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2013, Jones' first season.

Two weeks ago, the Volunteers lost at Kentucky 29-26, only its second loss to the Wildcats in the past 33 years. Tennessee also had a 41-0 home loss to Georgia on Sept. 30, the Vols' most lopsided loss in Neyland Stadium history. Another blowout loss was on Oct. 21 at Alabama, 45-7.

Jones was just 3-9 in his past 12 SEC games dating to last season. He led the Volunteers to back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2015 and 2016, and his overall record at Tennessee was 34-27 and 14-24 in the SEC.

Jones was under contract through Feb. 28, 2021. His buyout is around $8 million. He was making $4.11 million per year at Tennessee.

Tennessee hired Jones away from Cincinnati to replace Derek Dooley following the 2012 season.

Updated November 12, 2017

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