This is the price you pay for being a fan of a school that is not considered among the elites. As the saying goes its better to have a coach whose services are in demand than one that nobody wants. Still the news on this day, the bloodiest of all Sundays, can be a little bit annoying. Illinois fired Ron Zook today and the Butch Davis era ended days before the start of the season. Both programs are obviously in the market for a coach, and coach Jones is a hot commodity, and is firmly entrenched in the rumor mill for those two positions, in addition to UCLA. To wit
Five names for UNC job that I've heard (in no order): Kevin Smulin, Butch Jones, Gus Malzahn, Larry Fedora and Skip Holtz.
That comes from Pete Thamel of the New York Times
There is nothing quite so on the record about the Illinois job, just the assumption that Mike Thomas is going to try to hire Jones again because he did it before. exp.
Cincinnati head coach
After a rough first year, former Thomas hire turned Bearcats around
This comes from Illini HQ
I am not in the least bit surprised that Butch is being mentioned with every job under the sun. He is a good young coach with a sterling reputation among his peers. When rising stars are brought up in the coaching profession Jones is among the first names mentioned. That being said the odds of him taking any of the three jobs mentioned are very low.
Starting with UCLA he has no ties what so ever to the west coast and has never coached on the left coast and has not recruited extensively in SoCal area where UCLA spends the majority of their efforts. Its a bad fit at the wrong time.
North Carolina has good facilities and a furtile recruiting base with which Jones is very familiar. But they haven't won with any consistency since Mack Brown left and on top of that the probation train is coming down to track. UNC has the money to tempt someone to take on that mess, but I would be shocked if it was Butch Jones.
Lastly Illinois. The reason Jones is being mentioned at all for the Illinois job is that he is a hot name and Mike Thomas is the AD. Everyone is putting stock in the fact that Thomas hired Jones. And those people are generally wrong. Thomas's reputation is shit in Clifton, you have to search far and wide for someone who has something genuinely good to say about Thomas. Beyond that point the relationship between Jones and Thomas was already showing strain before Thomas left. I have no doubts what so ever about Jones being high on the list of Mike Thomas, and rumors to that extent have already proliferated on twitter and message boards. But I would be shocked if Jones had any interest in working with Thomas, not when he had a hand in picking Whit Babcock to take the AD job here at UC.