Jones: 'This isn't our hobby. This is our livelihood'
With a relatively young family in tow, and a staff that he had kept together very well by coaching standards, Butch Jones had a lot to think about when mulling over opportunities at Purdue, Colorado and his eventual landing place in Tennessee. Loyalty and family were two of the first things on his mind, and in coaching those two things go hand in hand.
That loyalty and continuity is important to Jones, as seven of his nine assistants have at least three years of experience on his staff (only Jay Graham and Tommy Thigpen are entering their first season with Jones). Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian has been alongside Jones the longest with eight seasons under his belt, and combined the seven assistants have totaled 36 seasons working alongside Jones in some capacity.
Of their 124 years of combined coaching experience as a staff, a solid 24 of those years have come coaching in the SEC.
It's evident that Jones values not only loyalty, but creating a family environment for his players and coaches, as well as their families. That was obvious during his time at Cincinnati, and will be something that he carries with him in Knoxville because he has so much invested in his guys.
"You talk about loyalty, as a head football coach, not only are you responsible for your own family, but nine other assistants, their wives, their children and then all your support staff. It's a big obligation. That's why loyalty is so big." Jones told GoVolsExtra.com
"You have to understand, this is a way of life for our families. This isn't our hobby. This is our livelihood." he explained.
"My family lives and dies on game-day. My wife will become a second mother to 105 individuals on our football team. My sons will live and die Tennessee football everyday. It is a traumatic change at times to move your family, but they're extremely excited to join the community.
"I think my kids have worn Tennessee gear every day since they left the press conference." Jones added.