Jones faces decision on his coaching future
SMU puts the rush on Jones to coach
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Will June Jones become SMU’s $2 million man?
He has an offer to leave Hawaii and coach the Mustangs of Conference USA for $1.7 million to $2 million per year -- more than twice what he makes at UH. But he must decide by Sunday, sources said. Former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz is also a candidate for the post.
Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg, said yesterday that Hawaii has not made a proposal to keep the nine-year Warriors coach in Manoa, and Jones’ contract ends before the start of next season.
Steinberg and Jones have both said the winningest coach in UH football history is more interested in improved facilities than a hefty raise.
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June Jones has until Sunday to accept an offer to become the Southern Methodist head football coach for $1.7 million to $2 million per year, sources close to SMU said yesterday.
The Hawaii coach's agent was still awaiting a contract proposal from Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier yesterday, and Leigh Steinberg said "outside pressures" were putting Jones in a position where he would have to decide soon whether he will remain at UH.
Steinberg would not say the letters S-M-U, but it is clear that the Dallas school is the source of the pressure.
"I would say that the timetable here is reasonably rapid. June and I have had the chance to have some discussions, and we will have some more," Steinberg said yesterday in a phone interview. "Obviously, any other program, college or pro, has pressures trying to build a program and fill their position. So there are outside pressures inherent in this situation."
Jones makes $800,000 per year plus incentives at UH in a five-year contract that ends in June. He has referred questions to Steinberg.
Yesterday, former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz's name was also linked to the opening, and Larry Coker and Dennis Franchione have been in contact with SMU.
Jones, the winningest coach in UH history at 75-41 in nine seasons, said last week he wants to remain at Hawaii. But he also wants assurances that the school and community will support the program, including improving facilities, pay for assistants and other resources.
UH's football budget is $2.2 million, paltry compared with that of schools like Georgia, which whipped Hawaii 41-10 in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday.
Hawaii was 12-0 and ranked 10th in the nation before playing the Bulldogs in its first BCS bowl game, and a payout of around $4.5 million (before expenses) is expected. Jones was a finalist on several coach-of-the-year lists.
"We have not had a proposal from Hawaii," Steinberg said yesterday afternoon. "It's unclear when that might come. June will be in a position quite soon where a decision will need to be made."
Frazier did not respond to media requests yesterday, but UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw addressed the situation in a news release.
"I know that there is a great deal of interest in ensuring that June Jones remains here as our football coach -- and that is definitely our goal as well. ... It has always been our intent to make Coach Jones a firm offer that will keep him here, and I want to assure everyone that (Frazier) is moving expeditiously to do just that," Hinshaw said in a statement.