Courtesy: Associated Press
Butch Jones was 27-13 in three seasons (2007-09) as the head football coach at Central Michigan University, and the Chippewas earned their first top-25 ranking in program history during his tenure.
A 20-10 victory over Ohio in the 2009 Mid-American Conference Championship Game vaulted the Chippewas into the Associated Press top 25 for the first time and marked CMU’s second conference title in three seasons under Jones.
The Chippewas’ win in the 2009 MAC Championship Game not only secured CMU’s second MAC title during the Jones era, but also capped the first unbeaten, untied MAC season in program history and improved CMU’s record against MAC opponents under Jones to 22-3. CMU defeated each of the other 12 MAC members during Jones' tenure.
The 2009 season was highlighted by a 29-27 win at Michigan State, CMU’s second straight victory over a Big Ten opponent, and a 34-23 win at rival Western Michigan. Jones was just the second head coach in CMU history to defeat Western Michigan in each of his first three seasons.
In 2007, Jones became just 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 Chippewas clinched the MAC West Division title with a 34-31 win at Western Michigan, CMU’s first win in Kalamazoo since 1993. CMU went on to defeat Miami, 35-10, four weeks later in the MAC Championship Game, a win that secured the Chippewas a spot in the Motor City Bowl.
The 2008 season was highlighted by a 38-28 win over Western Michigan in front of a record crowd at Kelly/Shorts Stadium and a 37-34 win on the road at Indiana. The victory over the Hoosiers was CMU’s first against a Big Ten opponent since 1992. CMU capped the 2008 season with its third consecutive appearance in the Motor City Bowl.
After winning a championship in his debut season, Jones was rewarded with a new five-year contract. An additional year was added to the deal following the 2008 season, extending Jones’ contract through the 2013 season.
CMU led the MAC in all-conference selections in 2007, and the Chippewas’ seven All-MAC first team selections in 2008 were the most for the program since 1990. In Jones’ three seasons, CMU collected the league’s Vern Smith Leadership Award (Dan LeFevour, 2009), offensive player of the year award twice (Dan LeFevour, 2007, 2009), freshman of the year award (Antonio Brown, 2007) and special teams player of the year award twice (Antonio Brown, 2008, 2009). LeFevour earned the offensive player of the year accolade after becoming just the second player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
The Chippewas excelled in the classroom during Jones’ tenure as well. CMU led the MAC in CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selections in each of his three seasons; six Chippewas were named to the 2009 academic all-district squad. CMU also led the MAC in Academic All-MAC honorees each of this three years at the helm.
A native of Michigan and a former offensive coordinator at CMU, Jones returned to Mount Pleasant after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an assistant coach under Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia University. West Virginia, employing a spread offensive attack, ranked second in Division I-A in rushing offense (303.0 ypg), third in scoring offense (38.9 ppg) and fifth in total offense (461.4 ypg) in 2006.
Jones translated that success to CMU. In 2007, the Chippewas were the only team to rank in the top four in the MAC in scoring offense (first, 33.8 ppg), total offense (second, 447.9 ypg), rushing offense (third, 182.8 ypg) and passing offense (fourth, 265.1 ypg). In 2008, CMU ranked second in the conference in both passing (289.8 ypg) and total offense (423.5). The Chippewas’ passing attack ranked 12th nationally that season.
CMU scored 30 or more points in 21 games during Jones’ tenure; the Chippewas posted at least 40 points 11 times, including five 50-point efforts. The 2007, 2008 and 2009 campaigns were the program’s highest scoring seasons since CMU joined the MAC in 1975.
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 Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl.
Jones spent a total of 11 seasons as an assistant at the Division I-A 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 filled a variety of roles during his first stint at CMU (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 who earned All-MAC first team or second team 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 both 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, 41, and his wife Barb are the parents of three children: Alex (12), Adam (8) and Andrew (2).