After some 18 days, numerous interviews and a couple of very public rejections, Tennessee has found its football coach --- and it's someone who wanted the job all along.
Butch Jones has agreed in principle to end the Volunteers' journey through the coaching desert, Volquest.com first reported Friday morning.
With a 47-26 mark in six seasons as head coach at Central Michigan and then Cincinnati, Jones had reportedly stressed his appreciation for Tennessee and its gameday atmosphere. His Bearcats squad played in Neyland Stadium last season.
Jones has officially resigned from Cincinnati and will be formally introduced as Tennessee's new head football coach at 2:30 p.m. ET Friday.
Jones had an annual salary worth roughly $1.85 million and had been sought out by Purdue, Boston College, most recently Colorado and potentially Wisconsin, according to sources.
His initial deal to head the Volunteers program is expected to be around $3 million.
Tennessee had been seeking a head coach since it formally dismissed third-year coach Derek Dooley on Nov. 18, in the hours after a humiliating loss to cross-state rival Vanderbilt.
Jones becomes Tennessee's fourth official head coach and sixth overall since the onset of the 2008 season. Phillip Fulmer was fired following his 5-7 '08 campaign, and Lane Kiffin was hired to replace him. Kiffin lasted just one year, and Kippy Brown filled the interim void until Dooley was hired in mid-January 2010.
Jim Chaney coached the Vols to their season-ending 37-17 win against Kentucky as interim head coach.
Prior to taking over at Central Michigan, Jones served as the wide receivers coach at West Virginia under Rich Rodriguez in 2005 and 2006, where the Mountaineers recorded back-to-back 11-win seasons.