He grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan, the son of a small-town police chief.
He didn't venture far away to play college football at Ferris State. Then he decided to pursue a career in coaching.
So, naturally, his dream job was ...
"Tennessee's been my dream job for a while,'' Butch Jones said Friday, sporting his orange tie and Power T lapel pin. "I grew up watching Tennessee football.''
He was full grown by the time he watched Tennessee football in Neyland Stadium. The Vols handled his Cincinnati team 45-23 in 2011, but Jones left thinking it might be a heckuva place to work.
"This is the greatest venue in all of college football,'' he said. "When we came here last year that just solidified everything.''
Kids growing up these days in Saugatuck, Mich., probably are not watching Tennessee football. Jones has accepted the challenge of restoring the Vols as a national brand.
And speaking of national brands, UT did not succeed in its pursuit of Jon Gruden.
Success the past three seasons at Cincinnati has familiarized Jones to most college football fans. Still, one UT player, Tiny Richardson, turned to Twitter to seek info on the guy he was hearing was about to become his new coach.
Not since Johnny Majors in 1977 has UT made a splashy hire. Phillip Fulmer was in-house and obvious. Lane Kiffin was recently fired from the NFL. Derek Dooley wasn't on the high-beam radar.
As for Jones' dream job, I would have guessed nearby Michigan or Notre Dame. Actually, a Cincinnati player said Jones informed the team Friday in an early-morning meeting that Tennessee was "one of his dream jobs.''
Kentucky, Purdue and Colorado were presumably not on his list. He could have likely had any of the three.
Given UT's whirlwind courtship, there is much to learn about the man to whom athletic director Dave Hart handed the keys. From first impressions, energy won't be an issue. And he was working with virtually no sleep.
He claims to have developed thick skin. He'll need it by the time the Vols get back from Oregon and Florida next September.
"I'm from a pro town,'' Jones said. "I'm used to anything and everything.''
He says he's a CEO, not a micromanager. He vowed to hire the best coaches and let them coach.
He gets it that the survival in the SEC means being physical on offense and stingy on defense.
He will embrace Tennessee's past. Lettermen are welcome back on the practice field.
"I had 18 text messages from Charles Davis,'' Jones said.
His obvious coaching influence is Brian Kelly, who preceded him at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
But there's also Rich Rodriguez, for whom he worked two years at West Virginia. The state of Tennessee was part of his recruiting territory on behalf of the Mountaineers.
And here's a clear distinction from Kiffin:
"Urban Meyer is a very close friend. We talk a lot.''
Wonder what Meyer might have told Jones about Tennessee in particular and the SEC in general? Buckle up your chinstrap, pal?
"Nick Saban and Les Miles had zero SEC experience when they came into the league,'' Jones said. "That's all I'll say,
"They had Michigan ties, too.''
I never heard either refer to Tennessee as their dream job. In fact, I suspect Tennessee might have been a relative newcomer to this small-town Michigander's dream list.
"At the end of the day,'' said Jones, "it's about the fit.''
In any case, this dream came true.