UH football fortunes rose, fell in less than a week
A PROGRAM that touched the sky of national prominence not even a week ago is plummeting to the ground in flames.
Local boosters are calling for Herman Frazier's head, June Jones may have left the tattered building for the multimillion-dollar private sector of Southern Methodist, players are signing agents as if they really believe they're NFL material and school officials are wandering around upper campus in some kind of school daze.
A parade to honor the University of Hawaii football team could be without its grand marshal if Jones is announced as the Mustangs' new coach tomorrow. You can't help but wonder if any of this would have happened had the Warriors not been blown off the map by Georgia on New Year's Day.
A last-ditch effort to keep Jones in charge was made yesterday morning. As usual, crisis management rules in the 50th state, leaving the players left behind wondering just what the hell is going on.
Jones could have kept this thing from flying off the tracks by not going to Big D and realizing that what he's about to do is a huge mistake. Money aside, SMU is not a good fit for a guy who wears aloha shirts and plays golf in his bare feet.
As a person who grew up in Dallas and whose high school graduation was at Moody Coliseum, let me be the first to say that Jones' act won't be allowed in this upscale community where he'll be the poorest person in the room. Granted, the facilities are topnotch and the on-campus stadium is practically new, but the team sucks, has sucked and will continue to suck no matter what Jones tries to do to improve it.
In the grand scheme of Dallas sports, SMU barely has a pulse. It plays in an unwieldy conference similar to the WACs when it had 16 teams and the kids all drive Porsches and BMWs, and are as interested in the run-and-shoot as they are in Cut-and-Shoot, Texas.
Jones will find recruiting to be difficult because so many schools from around the country come to the Lone Star State with better offers and bigger programs. The alumni won't be interested in giving players like Colt Brennan and Davone Bess get-out-of-jail-free cards and academics will be a challenge at this highfaluting school.
OF COURSE, KNOWING Jones, he won't believe any of that. He'll think that what has worked before will work again in a conference filled with teams like Rice, Tulsa, UTEP, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina ... I could go on, but do you really want me to? You'd almost believe the only reason Jones is going is to stick it to those who questioned his autonomy in the fiefdom known as lower campus.
Jones won't have anything close to that in Dallas. Those guys who donate millions to the program will lead Jones around by the nose and tell him, "Boy, you're all hat and no cattle down here." The old soap opera "Dallas" made J.R. Ewing bigger than life, but for someone who spent most of his young days as a native Texan, there ain't no aloha out there.
So, here we are, not even a week removed from "the biggest game in UH history" and already the head coach may be gone, Frazier will be soon to follow if he lets this guy off the hook and the team will need years to recover. Does that sound like a guy whose heart is supposedly here?
I don't think so. It sounds more like someone holding a ransom over the school's head and acting as if he's bigger and badder than the governor herself, leaving the players he recruited and the school he loves in shambles.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org