set to cross
Former Oregon Ducks Jones
and Robinson will be on
opposite sidelines this Saturday
ONTARIO, Calif. >> The way June Jones and John Robinson have traveled through the NFL and college coaching ranks, it's inevitable the paths of the Hawaii and Nevada-Las Vegas coaches crossed at some point.
Hawaii at UNLV
When: Friday, 3 p.m. Hawaii time
Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
TV: Live, ESPN2
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
They were never on the same staff, but Robinson was briefly Jones' coach.
It was at Oregon -- Jones' home state and where Robinson went to college -- more than 30 years ago and before either of them became well-known in the world of football.
Robinson recruited Jones. Jones was a Duck for one year before transferring to UH and eventually to Portland State.
"John was one of the first (coaches) to throw the football in the Pac-10. I still remember some of the routes," Jones said after practice at Chaffey College today. "South Y 5, Tex 3, I remember all those. I bet he does, too."
Robinson, 68, claims to recall very little.
"We were only there together for a short period of time. I don't remember much because it was 106 years ago. June and I have been friends in the coaching profession for a long time," Robinson said on his weekly teleconference. "I remember recruiting him and working him out as a high school quarterback and thinking he was a good quarterback."
Robinson left Oregon, too. He was the offensive coordinator at Southern California for three years. Then, after spending 1975 coaching the offensive backfield for the Oakland Raiders, Robinson returned to USC for his first of two stints as the Trojans' head coach.
Robinson guided USC to a national championship in 1978 after an 11-1 season that included a 21-5 victory over Hawaii. With a .663 winning percentage (123-63-4), Robinson is 10th among active coaches with at least five years.
The Los Angeles Rams went 79-74 under Robinson from 1983 to 1991.
Robinson became UNLV's coach before the 1999 season. He coached the Rebels to a 34-32 victory against Jones' UH team in 2000 at Aloha Stadium.
Even after more than 30 years as a football coach, including a national championship, Robinson doesn't pretend to have all the answers.
He can only hope his UNLV (2-1) team that beat No. 14 Wisconsin 23-5 on the road last week -- and not the one that lost 46-24 to Kansas -- shows up Friday to host Hawaii (1-1).
"You're asking the million-dollar question everybody wants to know. 'How do you play good all the time?' We did a bad job (at Kansas on Sept. 6).
"It's hard early in the year to have consistency in college football. You play teams you don't really understand. Teams start school at different times.
"I think it's the way of college sports," he added.