Keeping up with the Tomeys
IT created a surprisingly strong response for such a small tidbit of an item at the end of a column, but since it did, we're going with another update this week.
So here it is -- with Nov. 12's win over Utah State, June Jones moves into first place in modern-day, Division I UH football coaching records with 52 wins through his first 88 games.
Of course, it's a three-way tie for first.
Jones is now 52-36, through 88 games.
Dick Tomey started off 52-35-1.
Wags was 52-34-2 through the same number of games.
Eerie, no? Wow, that is chicken skin.
Now, I don't know if that's really fair, to line them up this way, because 88 games took different lengths of time for each man. It's taken Jones almost seven years; it took the others a little longer, with fewer games on the schedule. But now we're interested. So let's do this: Let's look at how each of these three coaches did through, well, now. Right this minute. Through 10 games of their seventh seasons.
Here it is. Jones, as everyone knows, is now 52-36, which is 52 wins through 88 games ... hmm, round up ... let's call it a .591 winning percentage. Pretty good, actually.
Now, Dick Tomey. He had 45 wins in 76 games (through the 10th game of his seventh season, remember), which is ... my calculator says it's a .592 percentage.
That does not include a 21-17 loss to Oklahoma, which would come in the 11th game.
And then there is Bob Wagner, whose team, as you remember, finished 6-6 in his seventh season, after previously posting four seasons of seven wins or more. He had 50 wins through the first 10 games of his seventh season, 50 wins in 84 games. (And Wagner would finish out the last two games of that seventh year 1-1.) That's a .595 winning percentage.
Wagner .595, Tomey .592, Jones .591.
Again, that's downright eerie. It's amazing how neck-and-neck these three guys are.
But that's not what we've been hearing these past few years, is it? Greatest this, in the history of the school that. Jones has to be at least 10 percentage points better than the next guy, yeah?
I think most people, even those who follow UH football semi-closely, would be totally stunned to hear that these three guys pretty much have the same record.
Aha! So that's it! Is this the big chance to "pick on" Jones while counting this up when he's having an "off" year?
Well, no. Before this year started, after their first six seasons, Tomey had a .606 winning percentage, Wagner's was .608 and Jones, at 48-30 heading into this season, was at .615. Ahead by a nose. Or a mustache.
In fact, the coincidences continue -- they all hit a lull in their seventh season. Wagner was 6-6, as mentioned above. Tomey went 5-5-1 in 1983 (with Jones on staff, cranking up the offense). This year, the best Jones could finish would be 6-6.
Face it -- through the amount of time Jones has been here, at this moment, right now, they're triplets. In terms of winning and losing Jones is about the same as Tomey and Wags.
That's not a shot, though no doubt some Jones fans will take it as one just for bringing it up. It isn't spin. Those are just the numbers and numbers aren't for or against anyone. They aren't positive or negative. Those are the records. They are what they are.
As you might imagine, I've gone over these figures again and again and again (you don't want to be wrong). But I also dropped out of Algebra II after about a week, so if you want to go back and check my math, feel free. Please do.
It's all in the record book. Anyone can look.
You could look up anything. For example, road records. You have to give Jones credit for playing tough games at USC and at Michigan State. But let's not forget, Tomey went to Nebraska. Wagner went to the pink locker room at Iowa.
Tomey didn't leave the island often, in those days. For the time period we're talking about, he went 8-10 on the road, .444.
Jones has gone 12-20 on the road, .375. He edges Wagner -- though it's incredibly close once again -- who, through this point in his UH career, was 10-18 on the road, .357. (This does not count the Holiday Bowl, which of course Hawaii won.)
Or you could see how they each did against "major" teams -- those that we would now call BCS schools.
That one's kind of interesting, too. And, close again.
Yes, we should keep in mind that all numbers are relative to their time and place. There are variables, contributing factors. Is it easier to win at Hawaii now? Harder? Is the conference better or worse? Does Jones have a tougher or easier time than his predecessors did when it comes to administrative support? That's what you could argue. There are things that are up for debate.
But the one thing numbers are not is disputable. They are what they are.
Of course, in any conversation like this, you have to mention that Fred vonAppen once went 0-12.
And then you also have to mention that he was only coach at UH for three years.
Those are the numbers. Through this point Tomey, Wagner and Jones all had pretty much exactly the same record. It's spooky. I have to stop now. I'm getting kind of freaked out.