KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has begun discussions on a potential raise and contract extension for football coach Butch Jones.
"Butch is well aware of where I stand and well aware of how appreciative I am that he's our football coach," Hart said Tuesday during a half-hour conversation with reporters. "He knows. We have ongoing conversations. He knows we'll address that at the appropriate time and do what is right and fair as it relates to that."
Jones received an extension and raise last year that extended his contract through the 2020 season and increased his annual pay to $3.6 million. He has followed that up by leading Tennessee to an 8-4 record in his third season, which marks the first time the Volunteers have won more than seven games in a season since 2007. Tennessee capped the regular season with its first five-game winning streak since 2007.
Tennessee's average home attendance of 100,584 was its highest since 2008 and an 11.8-percent increase over where it was the year before his arrival.
"I've stated it very clearly, Tennessee is the place (where) I want to be," Jones said. "My family loves it here. Our fan base has been extremely loyal. ... I'm a big believer in loyalty. Right now, Tennessee is where I'm extremely happy. This is home to me, and this is home to my family."
Hart also said the school won't consider switching to a field-turf surface for Neyland Stadium. The stadium's slippery grass surface caused plenty of players to lose their footing during Tennessee's last three home games.
NOTES: Jones said he expects wide receiver Jauan Jennings to play in the bowl game. Jennings missed Tennessee's final two regular-season games with a thigh bruise. .... Jones said defensive end/linebacker Curt Maggitt's status for the bowl game remains uncertain. Maggitt hasn't played since injuring his hip in mid-September. ... Jones said wide receiver Jason Croom won't play in the bowl game. Croom hasn't played all year due to a knee injury.
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