Butch Jones, the 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, enters his third season with the Bearcats.
With the Bearcats' win in the 2011 regular-season finale against Connecticut, Jones earned his third conference championship as a head coach (2007, 2009 at Central Michigan, 2011 at Cincinnati) and his 40th career victory.
Jones, who was named the head coach at UC on Dec. 16, 2009, holds a 41-24 career mark, a 27-10 record in conference play, has four bowl appearances and three league championships to his credit in five seasons as a collegiate head coach. In 2011, UC was the only program nationally to win both its conference championship as well as the league's team academic award.
Since arriving in Cincinnati, Jones has made an immediate impact, building a staff of championship-level coaches and teachers, as well as an atmosphere of competition and family, while also overseeing an academic program of great success. Jones and his staff have shown the ability to produce NFL-ready talent as well, sending 11 players to the NFL over the past three years.
UC was the most improved NCAA FBS AQ team in 2011, finishing with a 10-3 mark and a Top-25 final ranking, as well as returning to postseason play, knocking of SEC foe Vanderbilt in the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the program's first bowl win over a BCS opponent.
Eight student-athletes earned All-BIG EAST accolades in 2011, including BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Isaiah Pead and BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year Derek Wolfe. Wolfe, a senior defensive tackle, earned spots on five All-America teams, making him UC's sixth All-American since 2007. JK Schaffer was named the 2011 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the second-straight UC player to win that honor, leading 23 UC student-athletes on the Academic All-BIG EAST squad.
The Bearcats were one of the most improved defenses in the nation in 2011, leading the NCAA FBS in tackles for a loss (8.62), ranking second in sacks (3.46), sixth in rushing defense (96.23) and 20th in scoring defense (20.31). UC led the BIG EAST and ranked ninth nationally in turnover margin (0.92) while the Bearcats' 33 turnovers gained was tied for fourth nationally.
Offensively, UC averaged 385 yards per game, ranking No. 2 in the BIG EAST in rushing offense (178.5 ypg) and scored an average of 33.3 points per game. Pead closed out his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the first UC back to accomplish that feat in nearly 25 years. His 3,288 career yards rushing and 27 rushing touchdowns rank him third all-time.
QB Zach Collaros became only the second UC QB all-time to tally 6,000 yards passing and 50 passing touchdowns. He leaves UC as the school's all-time leader in completion percentage (.619) and was 485-of-783 for 6,278 yards and 51 touchdowns.
The Bearcats' overall team GPA for the fall 2011 quarter was a 2.73 which is a significant improvement over the in-season GPA of 2.69 the Bearcats posted in the fall of 2010. Forty-three student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or better while 23 student-athletes earned spots on the Dean's List, with quarter GPAs of 3.4 or above.
UC was honored with the 2010-11 BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award. Nineteen players were named Academic All-BIG EAST and John Goebel earned the 2010 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
In 2010, the Bearcats led the BIG EAST in scoring offense (27.1 ppg), total offense (417.3 ypg), passing offense (260.7 ypg), first downs (21.9 pg), third-down conversions (45.6 pct.) and touchdown passes (27). Wide receiver Armon Binns and quarterback Zach Collaros were both First-Team all-BIG EAST selections while five other teammates earned all-BIG EAST honors.
In addition to their success in the classroom, Jones-coached squads have shown a great ability to close out games, sporting identical 32-1 marks when holding a lead at halftime or entering the fourth quarter.
Prior to leading the Bearcats, Jones spent three seasons at Central Michigan University, leading the Chippewas to a pair of Mid-American Conference Championships and three-straight bowl appearances from 2007-09 and a postseason Top-25 ranking.
A native of Saugatuck, Mich., and former offensive coordinator at CMU, Jones went 27-13 over three seasons as head coach at CMU, including a 22-3 mark in league games. The Chippewas won a pair of MAC Championships (2007, 2009), played in three-straight bowl games and earning a postseason ranking of No. 23 in 2009. He is the only coach in CMU history to lead the team to consecutive bowl games and is the first in MAC history to do it in his first three seasons as head coach.
Jones coached 32 all-MAC performers, including two-time MAC Offensive Player of the Year and 2009 MAC Vern Smith Leadership Award winner Dan LeFevour, and two-time MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Antonio Brown. Under his tutelage, 13 student-athletes earned Academic all-MAC accolades.
LeFevour had an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Record 148 career touchdowns (101 passing, 46 rushing and one receiving). His 101 career passing TDs, are the most in MAC history.
CMU was 22-3 against MAC opponents during Jones' tenure, including victories in the 2007 and 2009 MAC Championship Games. The Chippewas were 12-1 in MAC road games under Jones and earned two-straight wins over Big Ten teams.
In 2007, Jones became only the ninth first-year head coach to lead his team to a Mid-American Conference championship. The Chippewas' eight victories marked the second-most of any CMU coach in his debut season, and Jones was one of three first-year head coaches nationwide to coach in a bowl game.
The 2008 season was highlighted by a 37-34 win on the road at Indiana, CMU's first against a Big Ten opponent since 1992. The Chippewas capped the 2008 season with its third consecutive appearance in the Motor City Bowl.
Prior to becoming CMU's head coach, Jones spent a total of 11 seasons as an assistant at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level. He served as the offensive coordinator at three different schools, spanning eight seasons, and worked directly with 24 all-conference selections in 15 years as a full-time position coach.
Jones returned to CMU after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an assistant coach under Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia University. In 2006, the Mountaineers employed a spread offensive attack which ranked second in the NCAA FBS in rushing offense (303.0 ypg), third in scoring offense (38.9 ppg) and fifth in total offense (461.4 ypg).
In two seasons at West Virginia, Jones was part of teams that recorded back-to-back 11-win campaigns, a pair of top-10 national rankings and victories in the 2006 Sugar Bowl and 2007 Gator Bowl.
Jones filled a variety of roles during his first stint at Central Michigan (1998-2004), including serving as offensive coordinator from 2001-03. The Chippewas averaged just 271.5 yards per game and 12.5 points per game in 2000; in 2001, Jones' first season directing the offense, those averages jumped to 379.5 yards per game and 22.8 points per game, respectively. He coached three different running backs that earned first or second team all-MAC honors.
A 1990 graduate of Ferris State University where he was a two-year letterman on the football team, Jones broke into the coaching ranks while still an undergraduate by serving as intern for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987-89. He spent the 1990-92 seasons as a graduate assistant at Rutgers University before taking over as the offensive coordinator at Wilkes University in 1993. He directed an offense at Wilkes that led the Middle Atlantic Conference in scoring offense and total offense in 1993, a season in which it won a conference title and qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Jones returned to his alma mater in 1995 as a running backs coach, only to be promoted to offensive coordinator for the 1996 season. The Bulldogs, while leading the Midwestern Intercollegiate Football Conference in total offense and scoring offense, won a second consecutive MIFC championship in 1996 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.
Jones and his wife Barb are the parents of three children: Alex, Adam, and Andrew.