Since Jimbo Fisher exited the picture, the coaching search’s focus has returned to the remaining candidates that have already been interviewed. One of those candidates is Butch Jones, who was interviewed before Christmas. In fact, Jones has been invited back for a second interview, to be held tomorrow, just one day after Central Michigan’s game in the Motor City Bowl. This second interview has many speculating that Jones is a front-runner for the head-coaching position.
The candidacy of Jones, however, is not as serious as that of some of the other candidates (think: Terry Bowden). WBGV has learned that the first interview of Butch Jones was conducted almost entirely by Mike Parsons. AD Ed Pastilong, while in the room, was generally silent and without questions (our source’s description was “half-alseep”). Craig Walker, Chief of Staff to President Garrison, was out of the room on his cell phone for the majority of the meeting. This is the direct opposite of the interviews of Bowden, Doc Holliday, and Rick Trickett, where Pastilong served as the point-man.
Jones is seen by both the athletic department and larger donors as a good coach interviewing at the wrong time. Jones, who was only at West Virginia for two seasons, is still seen as an unproven commodity. His one season of success at Central Michigan was done with the inherited players of Brian Kelly, now at Cincinnati. Jones also coached the wide receivers at WVU, never a strong suit of the Mountaineer offense (though the development of Brandon Myles is credited to Jones). Also, a Jones hire would not correct the already deep fractures in the Mountaineer donor community. In fact, it might cause even more discord.
While Jones is still officially listed as a candidate for the head-coaching position, his candidacy is probably a few years too early. A second interview should not be seen as a big step towards the hiring of Butch Jones.