It's been just over a month since UT announced Butch Jones as the new head coach of the Volunteer football program.
The search, which lasted 13 days from the end of the season, felt like months to many as the Volunteers appeared to strikeout with candidate after candidate.
It was two weeks filled with "grumors," checking plane destinations in and out of Knoxville, high hopes, disappointments and finally relief.
During the entire process, athletic director Dave Hart kept on his and the athletic department's path to resurrect the floundering football program by finding the best available coach to lead Tennessee to where it feels it belongs.
"We've had a tough five to six year run, but we've tried to put that in the rearview mirror and say 'this is where we are, this is where we want to go and let's talk about how we get there,'" Hart said. "I'm real pleased, particularly internally, we have everybody moving in the same direction with positive energy, focused on our goals."
Hart admits to a few sleepless nights himself during the two-week stretch, but believes that the amount of time it was taking to find a coach was becoming a bigger issue than it truly was.
"It was such a high priority that during that time, it wasn't as long as it may have felt it was," Hart said. "Really, coaches aren't going to discuss while their seasons are still going on. So once the Kentucky game was over then it became a total focus, and I think 13 days later we announced Butch as our coach. There were other programs that knew they were going to change coaches for months and months and I think they hired around the same time; maybe a day or two sooner."
The man that Hart decided upon to complete this job is the 44-year-old coach from Cincinnati, Butch Jones.
Hart was extremely confident in the coaching abilities that Jones possesses, but that his best trait is his ability to handle all of the off-the-field priorities that a big program coach must deal with.
"He possesses a unique ability that some of the best leaders I've ever been around possess. He is a very effective and efficient multitasker," he said.
"The guy must not sleep much," Hart joked.
And with Jones on staff for more than a month Hart has been able to see the new coach at work and has an even greater appreciation for what he can do for the Tennessee program and brand.
"He gets it. He knows we are the most visible ambassador in the total structure, but he wants to know people and he wants people to know him," Hart said. "He wants to be accessible to people, whether they are high school coaches, former lettermen, the deans, people on campus, the Chancellor's Cabinet, he wants to get to know people that are important to (UT)."
Though Hart is very pleased with his hire, the product is still the most important thing. So even though Jones is making a splash in the state of Tennessee, wins on Saturday afternoons is still the driving force of the program.
"The expectation is that we do expect reasonable progress within the competitive arena," Hart said. "They understand that in their world they have to be as responsible as I do and we do administratively to a lot of stakeholders, we have to know our roll within the university. As coaches, in that competitive arena, you have to make progress as well."