Jones Named SMU Coach

Jones was officially introduced as SMU's coach during a news conference at the school

Jan. 7, 2008

DALLAS (Ticker) -- After nine years at Hawaii, June Jones is ready to take on another huge challenge.

Jones was officially introduced as SMU's coach during a news conference at the school Monday afternoon, completing a stunning turn of events.

SMU did not announce terms of the contract, but ESPN.com reported it to be a five-year deal worth close to $2 million per season.

"Our goal was to aim high," SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said. "SMU is committed to rebuilding its football program. We will be successful at SMU." Jones achieved hero status at Hawaii while building the program virtually from scratch. But he resigned his post on Saturday, citing a lack of loyalty and commitment from the school, according to The Honolulu Advertiser.

Jones hinted at the apparent problems that arose at Hawaii.

"Any place I've ever been, it's the we factor, it's the team factor, that's the most important thing," he said. "You can have the best talent in the world you can have the best front office in the pros, but if you don't have everbody on the same page, you're beat before you go on the field." Following a 12-stint as an NFL assistant, Jones took over a Hawaii program in 1999 that went 0-12 the previous season and won nine games in his first year.

He built the Warriors into a contender in the Western Athletic Athletic Conference, culminating with the best season in school history in 2007.

Led by record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan, Hawaii completed a 12-0 regular season before losing to Georgia, 41-10, in the Sugar Bowl. Hawaii captured its initial WAC title and earned its first BCS bowl berth.

The Warriors made a final attempt over the weekend to keep Jones, with Hawaii governor Linda Lingle even getting involved.

According to the Hawaii Advertiser, Hawaii countered with a five-year contract worth $1.3 million annually, which fell short of SMU's reported offer.

"After meeting SMU staff, I really understood the commitment to get back to the highest level of play at SMU was really in everybody's interest," Jones added.

 

 

SMU is the last school in the Football Bowl Subdivision to fill a coaching vacancy. It had been without a coach since Phil Bennett was fired in October after six seasons with the Mustangs.

As he did at Hawaii, Jones will be faced with the prospect of trying to build a program virtually from the ground floor.

Although SMU produced such college football legends as Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson, the program never has fully recovered since coming of the NCAA-imposed "death penalty" in 1989.

Over the past 18 seasons, SMU posted a record of 58-153-3, including a 1-11 mark in 2007. The Mustangs were 0-8 in Conference USA.

"SMU is primed and ready to go the next step," Jones said. "The only way is up, and that excites me because I'm good at going up." Jones leaves Hawaii as the winningest coach in school history, posting a 76-41 record in his nine seasons.

Fanstore.com