Butch Jones stays on go in rebuilding Vols

Butch Jones stays on go in rebuilding Vols

May 19th, 2013 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Butch Jones says his job is nonstop.

Even during the slowest time on the college football calendar, when there's a break between spring and summer classes and some brief down time for players after spring practice and before the summer workout program, Tennessee's first-year coach is constantly on the go.

Yet even amid his travels to various speaking arrangements, fan and alumni events and booster receptions, and his long hours in the offices in Knoxville, Jones takes time to review the work he's done running the Volunteers' program.

"I evaluate myself hour by hour, minute by minute," the coach said before Thursday night's Big Orange Caravan stop at the Chattanooga Convention Center. "Every night when I kind of slow down a little bit, I always replay the day over in my mind. What would you have done differently? How could you have done it better?

"I think that's all part of being a competitor, but I think the big thing is making Tennessee football better each and every day, whether it's interacting with our fans, whether it's recruiting, whether it's developing our players. That's what we need to do to continue to grow and elevate our program back to its rightful place among the elite of college football."

Tennessee will have to do that when the 2013 season begins in a little more than three months, but there's work for Jones and his assistant coaches to do now. The Vols' staff has been on the road recruiting, while Jones has made multiple speaking stops. The five-stop Caravan, which already hit Memphis and Chattanooga, visits Kingsport, Nashville and Atlanta this week.

During his full days in the office, and even when he's got traveling to do later in the day, Jones watches video -- both of his current team and recruits -- pens letters to prospects -- some recruits have received more than 100 letters from Tennessee and posted pictures of them on Twitter -- and setting and double-checking the schedule for the Vols' training camp in August.

"We've spent ... a lot of time recruiting and writing letters and studying film," Jones said. "It's a balancing act between studying film and recruiting, and there's always stuff to do. It's nonstop."

Jones said he's taken "so much" from Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, a close friend, in time management as a coach. A picture of the two holding the Heat's 2012 championship trophy -- Miami beat Oklahoma City in Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals with Jones in attendance -- sits in Jones' office. The two have shared coaching philosophies and slogans on their separate paths.

"He calls it a bunker mentality," Jones said. "So much of it is just really focusing on the task at hand. ... I think the big thing is just managing your day-to-day operations and obviously setting different time frames throughout the day to accomplish different tasks."

After visiting Chattanooga earlier this month for a speaking event, Jones said he'd stayed in the office until 2 a.m. after one day that included travel. He claims the amount of work to do and the amount of work he's done haven't overwhelmed him. That's due in part to plenty of coffee and the work ethic instilled in him by his parents.

It's also Jones' own drive to win and, he says, giving the passionate fan base that's awaited him at each of his spring speaking stops a product of which they can be proud.

"I think the big thing is experience," he said. "This is obviously the third time of doing this. I think it's an experience factor of being a head football coach, but obviously the magnitude that surrounds Tennessee football is obviously different than anywhere else in the country.

"Again it's just being disciplined in setting your time schedule and working efficiently."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.