Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


UH Football

June Jones returns
to work at UH

In his first minute back, coach
is already joking that assistant
isn't blitzing enough

By Paul Arnett

University of Hawaii head coach June Jones first returned to his office during last week's spring break and has since increased his work load to part-time status.

"He stuck his head in here yesterday and said, 'Coach, you aren't blitzing enough,' " Warriors defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said yesterday. "That's when I knew he was all right. It was the first time I've seen him since he got out of the hospital.

"It's amazing how well he's doing. He's back. He's not in our meetings yet or watching a lot of film, but I'm sure before long he'll be his old self. To realize how far he's come in less than six weeks. You can't believe it.''

Jones is still recovering from a one-car accident he suffered on Feb. 22.

The third-year head coach for the Warriors hit a concrete pillar under an overpass and nearly died after suffering internal injuries that required two major surgeries.

There had been some speculation that Jones would make it back for the spring game played 10 days ago, but he opted to rest, instead. He spends his mornings lifting weights as part of his rehabilitation program. The afternoons are for catching up with things around the office.

"Right now, we're looking at who will be back with us for fall camp," Lempa said. "It will probably be a month before we make any lasting decisions. You can only bring in 105 for fall camp and expand on that once school begins.

"That could affect some of the walk-ons. We'll invite the better ones. But last year we did that and some of them didn't make it out for fall camp. "We want to make sure those we do invite can make it. It's much more important than you might think.''

The coaching staff will be at full strength once special teams coach Dennis McKnight returns. He has a knee injury that requires surgery in San Diego, where his family still lives. He attended one spring practice and the spring game.

"Considering everything that's happened around here, I think we came out of the spring in better shape than we were in last year,'' Lempa said. "We spent a lot of time giving the younger players some reps, which should help us develop our depth.

"What's really great is to see June up here again. We missed him. Having him back will help us as we try to get this thing turned around. Having him telling me I'm not blitzing enough tells me he has a good idea what went on in the spring.''

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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