Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has strong ties to the University of Tennessee. Haslam who was formerly the mayor of his native Knoxville and — perhaps most notably — is the son of one of the university’s biggest donors, Pilot/Flying J founder Jim Haslam.
So naturally, his opinion would carry weight in regards to head football coach Butch Jones’ impending job status. During an interview with the Tennessean, Haslam credited some of Jones’ accomplishments as coach, while refraining from giving too much of a critique given his role as state governor.
“As governor, it’s not my role to comment on anything beyond that, except to say … I think coach Jones is working hard to build the right kind of program. Where players graduate, where players are great citizens off the field, and that they also win on the field. And I think there’s probably nobody more frustrated with the last two weeks than coach Jones. And I know that he understands how important it is that Tennessee be a top-ranked program.”
Jones enters Saturday’s game against Georgia at Neyland Stadium coming off a disappointing loss at Florida and a close win at home against winless UMass.
While Haslam may have looked at the positives, many Tennessee fans continue to voice their displeasure of the fifth-year head coach.
According to VolPoll.com, among the 845 respondents, only 3.55 percent approve of the job Jones is doing. Offensive coordinator Larry Scott received a 6.75 approval rating and defensive coordinator scored 33.61 percent.
Another heartbreaking loss could be the end of Jones’ “brick by brick” rebuilding project in Knoxville.