Updated: Jan. 5, 2007, 5:18 PM ET

Central Michigan hires Butch Jones as head coach

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Central Michigan hired West Virginia receivers coach Butch Jones on Friday to guide its football program.

Jones, who spent seven seasons as an assistant at Central Michigan before leaving for West Virginia, replaces Brian Kelly, who took a job at Cincinnati last month.

This will be the first head coaching job at any level for Jones. Before joining the Mountaineers in 2005, Jones coached tight ends in 1998, wide receivers in 1999, and running backs from 2000-2004 for the Chippewas.

"Butch has all the skills to be a highly successful head coach," athletic director Dave Heeke said. "We are fortunate to have someone here from an outstanding program like West Virginia, and his experience with one of the most successful spread offenses in the country will help further develop our offense."

Heeke said Jones will provide the leadership necessary to compete for championships every year.

"Growing up in Michigan, going to school in the state, and now being the head coach at Central Michigan, it's obviously very exciting," Jones said. "The last two years working for Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia have completely prepared me for this position."

Jones inherits a Central Michigan team that finished with a 10-4 record and a Mid-American Conference title this season. Kelly will make his debut as Bearcats coach when they take on Western Michigan in the inaugural International Bowl in Toronto on Saturday.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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