Players support Coach Jones
University of Hawaii football players at a team autograph-signing session at Kahala Mall yesterday said they want coach June Jones to stay in Hawaii, but would support him in whatever decision he made.
"I would support his decision and I think that's how most of us feel," said defensive lineman Karl Noa. "He has to do what's best for him. He has done so much for the program and although it would be sad if he leaves, we understand that there's a business side to it."
Wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne, who called Jones a great ambassador for the state, said yesterday afternoon he had mixed feelings about Jones' decision whether to resign and take the head coaching job at SMU.
"People out here really love him," said Hawthorne. "And I know he loves this place, too. There's no doubt about this ... though he has to think about his family, too. I want him to stay. ... I think that Hawaii and June Jones really goes well together."
Defensive end Amani Purcell, who also believes Jones should stay, said many underclassmen on the team would be disappointed.
"There are kids here he recruited and want to play for him," Purcell said.
For the most part, the players agreed with Jones' demands for changes in the athletic department, especially its facilities, and understand his frustration since many have not been met.
"There's definitely room for improvement," Hawthorne said. "I believe no matter who comes in here, they're going to see a need to improve the facilities. It just needs to be upgraded, that's the bottom line. It may take time, and I think that may be one of the issues that may be hurting him."