Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones visited the University of Colorado on Monday to interview for the school's vacant head coaching job and a game of hide and seek with reporters ensued.

Despite that aspect of the trip, sources said the visit went well and Jones is now mulling an offer to become the 25th full-time head football coach in school history. He has been offered a five-year contract that would pay him more than $2.5 million annually.

Late in the afternoon with Jones still in the Dal Ward Center, CU athletic director Mike Bohn walked by a group of reporters. He was asked for a comment.

"It has been a productive day," Bohn said.

Jones' Mile High adventure began at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Monday morning in Broomfield when he and his wife, Barb, arrived on a private plane paid for by a CU booster. Jones had been photographed getting off a Purdue University plane Sunday in West Lafayete, Ind., to interview for the head football coaching job there.

Sources said Jones was not happy about being photographed at Purdue and that led Colorado officials to do their best to keep him out of sight during his Boulder trip.

CU officials arranged for the plane to taxi to an alternate part of the airport where Jones could disembark without being photographed. He and his wife were picked up in an SUV by Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn.


A 9News crew leaving the airport after the plane arrived spotted Bohn driving the SUV and followed it, preventing Bohn from taking the Joneses to the overlook on Highway 36 where they could get a view of the town, the Flatirons and the snow-covered peaks in the background.

The Joneses' first stop was Chancellor Phil DiStefano's residence. After a short stay there and look at parts of the campus, Jones was taken to the club and suite levels of Folsom Field where he and his agent, Trace Armstrong, met and ate lunch with Bohn, DiStefano, CU President Bruce Benson and a handful of athletic department staffers, including senior women's administrator Ceal Barry.

Butch Jones
Butch Jones (Associated Press file photo)

Benson returned from a trip to Mexico a day early to be a part of the meeting.

The group spent much of the afternoon in the suites discussing the beleaguered football program that went 1-11 this season under former coach Jon Embree.

Sources said CU officials talked at length with Jones about their plans for facilities expansion in and around Folsom Field. Those plans include spending between $175 and $220 million on a permanent indoor practice facility, expansion of the Dal Ward Center, enclosing the north end of the stadium and adding seats, suites and a new press box on the west side.

The practice facility and the expansion of Dal Ward are the priorities if only part of the funding becomes available. The rest would be done later as more money is raised

While CU officials hosted Jones in the suites, media gathered by the exits below. CU administrators left around 4:30 p.m. in an effort to distract attention from Jones who was ushered down a separate walkway.

Workers hid Jones behind a food warmer at one point walking him into the stadium where he could walk down the stadium steps and into the lower level of the Dal Ward Center without coming into contact with reporters.

Jones toured the Buffs' locker room, weight room and coaches' offices. He also met briefly with four players who had been chosen to represent the team. A source said hose players were offensive lineman David Bakhtiari, wide receivers Paul Richardson and Tyler McCulloch and quarterback Shane Dillon.

Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones is hidden from the media behind a food service cart after leaving the luxury suites of Folsom Field at the University
Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones is hidden from the media behind a food service cart after leaving the luxury suites of Folsom Field at the University of Colorado Boulder Campus. Photo by Jeremy Papasso / The Boulder Camera (JEREMY PAPASSO)

While Jones spent the day on campus, Barb Jones was hosted by Kim Bohn and Yvonne DiStefano, the wives of the CU athletic director and chancellor. They toured Boulder, giving the coach's wife a look at several local schools. The Joneses have three children.

Jones flew back to Cincinnati in the evening after extending his stay by two hours. His agent has said Jones will make a decision about where he coaches by Tuesday. If he decides to accept the CU job, he would be announced as the next head coach at press conference on campus later this week.

Cincinnati officials are reportedly prepared to renegotiate Jones' contract there in an effort to keep him with the Bearcats. He earned $1.57 million this season and will earn $1.6 million next season under the current terms of his deal.

Jones has become one of the most sought after coaches in the nation the past two years. CU is the third school Jones has talked with this year about a coaching vacancy.

Jones was previously the head coach at Central Michigan where he went 27-13 in three seasons. He inherited that job from current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. Jones has gone 23-14 in three seasons at Cincinnati, a job he also inherited from Kelly.

Jones has never been asked to rebuild a program as a head coach. His ability to do so is one of several questions CU fans have about him as a candidate for the job. Jones, a Michigan native, also has spent his entire career coaching in the Midwest and the East Coast and doesn't have a strong history recruiting Texas and California, two states that have historically proven to be vital in building successful teams in Boulder.

The Jones File

Hometown: Saugatuck, Mich.Education: Graduate of Ferris State University, 1990

Experience: Six years as a head coach at two different schools. Served as offensive coordinator for a total of five years at two different schools (3 seasons at FBS level) Has coached running backs, tight ends and wide receivers as a position coach.

Records: 50-27 (career); 23-14 (Cincinnati 2010-12), 27-13 (Central Michigan 2007-09)

Salary: Earned $1.57 million at Cincinnati this season, can earn $1.6 million with Bearcats next season under current contract terms.

Family: Wife, Barb; children, Alex, Adam and Andrew.

Snapshot: Hired at Cincinnati on Dec. 16, 2009 to replace Brian Kelly, whom he previously coached under at Central Michigan. Went 4-8 in his first season with the Bearcats in 2010. Was named Big East Conference Coach of the Year in 2011 after going 10-3 and winning a share of conference title. Bearcats are 9-3 this season and co-Big East champs again. Will play Duke in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27. Jones has coached in five bowl games, three as a head coach.

Recruiting history

Here's a look at Cincinnati football recruiting the past seven years, starting with Brian Kelly's transitional class in 2007: Year Ranking Coach

2007 89 Kelly

2008 67 Kelly

2009 60 Kelly

2010 59 Jones

2011 49 Jones

2012 50 Jones

2013 54 Jones

(Rankings from