Butch Jones: 5-7 (2-6)
No postseason accomplishments
Losing seasons at the start of a coach’s tenure come with higher morale than the end of a coach’s tenure because they signify the start of something on the rise. When Butch Jones took over Tennessee football in 2013, that was the feeling.
At the time, the Vols had suffered through three straight losing seasons for the first time since 1909-1911. Derek Dooley’s tenure ended with two straight bowl misses as well, going 5-7 in 2011 and 2012. So UT had suffered historical negatives heading into this year.
Jones did not have a good first recruiting class and was not impressive in his introductory press conference. But an offseason that saw him build a top 5 class for 2014 had fans excited. He also installed his pro-style offense with spread formations and the 4-3 defense.
With Justin Worley as quarterback, the Vols jumped out to a 4-3 record, nearly beating the Georgia Bulldogs and upsetting the South Carolina Gamecocks, who would finish 11-2 and in the top 5. If Jones had not pulled Worley against the Florida Gators after losing to the Oregon Ducks, they would have been 5-2.
But Worley then got hurt against the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road. So Joshua Dobbs came in and wasn’t ready. The result was three more consecutive losses to the eventual SEC East champion Missouri Tigers, SEC Champion Auburn Tigers and then nine-win Vanderbilt Commodores.
A win over the Kentucky Wildcats meant they would finish 5-7, but they still missed their third straight bowl game. At least this seemed like the start of a new era, though, before people realized what Jones would become.