Arkansas State has hired several coaches that have had great success over the years, if not necessarily in Jonesboro. Former A-State coaches have included Liberty’s Hugh Freeze, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, and Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, but of those three none served in the job for more than one year.
And with Blake Anderson off to Utah State, today the Red Wolves hired former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones as the 31st head coach in team history. From the official statement by Arkansas State:
During Jones’ 11 seasons serving as a head coach, his teams combined to win four conference championships, played in eight bowl games and finished ranked in the AP Top 25 five times. He coached a combined 77 all-conference honorees and 27 NFL Draft picks, including All-Pro selections Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce and Antonio Brown.
”Butch Jones’ outstanding record of success at both the G5 and P5 levels is evident, and we’re excited to having him leading our football program into the future,” said Mohajir. ”He is the only coach over the last 12 years to lead Tennessee to back-to-back nine win seasons, and he led Cincinnati and Central Michigan to four conference championships over a six-year period. Butch has also worked with one of the most-well-respected coaches in history in Nick Saban the last three years at Alabama. Our candidate pool was fantastic, but following extensive and positive conversations with Butch, while also looking at his winning history, coaching and leadership abilities and vision for our program, we became confident he was the clear choice to be our next head coach.”
Jones also previously coached at Central Michigan from 2007-09,and Cincinnati from 2010-12. He lasted five seasons in Knoxville from 2013-16, winning three bowl games but never reaching 10 victories in a season. Jones became an offensive analyst for Alabama the last three seasons, learning at the hand of Nick Saban which seems to be the magical touch for so many looking for new employment.
Anderson helped stabilize the program, lasting seven seasons and winning two Sun Belt Championships. There will be expectations for Jones right away, as A-State has better facilities and money than many schools in their league.