BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Butch Jones denied he has agreed to become Colorado’s football coach.
In a text message to The Associated Press on Wednesday night, Jones called a report that he has accepted the position “absolutely false.”
The University of Cincinnati coach has been weighing his options since meeting with athletic director Mike Bohn and other Colorado officials this week.
Asked about the hiring, Bohn responded in a text that “our process is not complete.”
The university later issued a statement, saying, “We are still in the active process of hiring our next head football coach. We have nothing to confirm at this time, and no deal with anyone has been reached.”
Jones was Colorado’s top choice to replace Jon Embree, who was fired last week after going 4-21 in two seasons.
The 44-year-old Jones was in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to promote the Belk Bowl, which will feature the Bearcats (9-3) against Duke (6-6) on Dec. 27.
He told The Cincinnati Enquirer later in the day: “I’m just trying to make a decision. I’m taking my time and making sure I make the right decision because there’s a lot of families at stake.”
When asked when he might reach a decision, Jones told the paper: “I don’t know. I’ve got to get this over with. I’m not doing anything tonight.”
In a news conference Tuesday for the bowl, Jones deflected speculation about his coaching future.
“I’m still the coach here, that’s all that matters,” he said. “This is about the Belk Bowl. I have every intention (of coaching in the bowl). You have to understand why we’re here. If you don’t, we can end it right now.”
Jones interviewed at Purdue on Sunday and then arrived in Boulder the following day. The Boilermakers went ahead and hired Darrell Hazell as their new football coach after he led Kent State to its first winning season since 2001 and first bowl appearance in more than four decades.
The next coach to take the reins for the Buffaloes will be inheriting a squad that went 1-11 this season, the worst mark in the 123-year history of the program. The Buffs also were 1-8 in the Pac-12.
Embree had three years remaining on the five-year contract he signed on Dec. 6, 2010, when he replaced Dan Hawkins, whose poor recruiting classes and string of losing seasons led to his dismissal.
Jones is 50-27 as a head coach, including 23-14 in three seasons at Cincinnati.
– By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
AP Sports Writers Larry Lage, Joe Kay and Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.
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