We can now officially close the books on the Butch Jones era at Tennessee.
Yes, Jones was fired back in November, but his presence has still loomed large over Neyland Stadium the past four months — literally. A huge image of Jones remained on the back of the enormous video board at Tennessee’s stadium until Monday morning when it was finally removed.
Pour one out.
And by Monday afternoon an image of Al Wilson, an All-American linebacker from the 1998 national championship Vols team, had replaced Jones.
You may be wondering why the change took so long. The image of Jones accompanied images of Robert Neyland, the former Vols coach the stadium is named for, in the center and Reggie White on the right side. Those images are enormous — approximately 30 feet by 30 feet — and a crane was required for the removal. It took months for the university, specifically the Vol Network, to get everything in order to make the change.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, all three images, not just Jones, will be replaced. A new Neyland image will remain in the center while the replacement for White has not been divulged publicly yet.
Jones was fired on Nov. 12, a day after the Vols fell to 4-6 overall and 0-6 in SEC play. In five years with the program, Jones had a 34-27 overall record with just a 14-24 conference mark.
After a tumultuous search, Tennessee hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as Jones’ replacement.
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