Plenty of blame for Jones’ exit
With June Jones heading to Dallas, the first thing most fans wanted to do yesterday was run Herman Frazier out of town.
Folks backing the Jones Express might be inclined to blame the athletic director and the University of Hawaii administration for being slow to react to this situation that ballooned into an atom bomb the moment the Warriors were blown away by the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl.
But they are only partly right.
Jones fell in love with the facilities and the new stadium the Southern Methodist faithful built when he was there for an away game in 2001. He said as much at the time and even tried to sell a similar idea with folks here in the islands, which of course, didn't go very far.
You have to believe when the position came open in late October, Jones had an idea that this job might be one to pry him away from the place he loves. It's hard to say that he contacted SMU in private, letting the school know he might be interested, but let's face it, the Hill Top administration waited two months before closing the deal.
Jones certainly knew after the Sugar Bowl that his time was up. He had done all he could here. He had tried everything possible to get the attention of the UH administration and the state Legislature, to no avail. A last-ditch effort was made by all to keep Jones from moving on to the Mustangs' greener pastures, but it was so after the fact, you wonder why anyone bothered.
Certainly Jones gave it some thought. Like he tells his prospective recruits, sleep on that decision before signing on the dotted line just in case your heart isn't in it. He did -- even after SMU tried to pressure him in to making a decision on Sunday -- but the frustration of living in a banana republic disguised as a state was lifted off him yesterday like a 300-pound lineman.
Sure, the money is good. A cool $2 million a year will go a lot farther in the Lone Star State than here. Dallas is a cosmopolitan city with major sports in every direction. It gets him back into the city life and closer to the action than living on the outskirts of Western civilization.
With that said, Frazier has to take the fall for this one, even if Jones left him no real options. The problems that have proceeded this AD are too many to mention in this space. And while it's doubtful any offer would have swayed Jones at any point in time, perception is often reality. And reality says Frazier's time is up.
Given the circumstances, that's not a good thing. Not only will Hawaii be looking for a new head coach, but an athletic director to hire him. It makes it appear that the university is being run by a bunch of dolts, too slow to react, and ineffective in a crisis. It's hard to believe what has transpired in only a week, but what was once the greatest season in UH history is history.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org