June Jones Leaves Hawaii For SMU
January 7, 2008
June Jones has been named the head football coach at SMU, Director of Athletics Steve Orsini announced Monday. Jones arrives on the Hilltop after nine years at Hawai`i, where he resurrected a downtrodden Warrior football program to make it one of the most exciting and competitive squads in the country.
"The commitment made by this University, the groundwork laid by my predecessors, the facilities - everything we need to be successful is here," Jones said. "When I met with President Turner and Steve Orsini and the rest of the search committee, I saw the commitment from all of them to get back to the highest level of competition. If everyone's not on the same page, you're beat before you kick off. It's clear that everyone at SMU is on the same page. Everyone has that hunger."
Jones led his Hawai`i teams to 76 wins -- the most by any Hawai`i coach -- two Western Athletic Conference Championships and six bowl-game appearances. He developed six All-Americans and produced 16 NFL draft picks, with a school-record five in 2007. In the five years before Jones' arrival, Hawai`i combined for 12 wins and not a single draft pick or bowl game berth. In 1998, Hawai`i suffered its first-ever winless season. The following year, the first under Jones, the Warriors went 9-4, marking the biggest turnaround in NCAA history.
Jones catapulted the Warrior program into the national rankings in his nine seasons, with Hawai`i ranking in the top 40 in seven of his nine years, including a top-10 ranking in 2007.
The 2007 season proved to be the pinnacle of success for Jones at Hawai`i, as he led his team to the national spotlight with a top-10 national ranking, a BCS Bowl berth and the school's first Heisman Trophy finalist. Hawai`i finished the 2007 regular-season undefeated at 12-0 and was the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision to earn that distinction. Along the way, the team shattered dozens of NCAA, conference and school records as Jones became just the third coach to lead a team to a BCS Bowl from a conference without an automatic BCS berth.
Orsini, who led the search for the Mustangs' coach, said Jones has the mix of experience, expertise and credibility SMU needs.
"As a head coach, June Jones excels at building football programs and SMU is committed to rebuilding its football program" Orsini said. "I truly believe that we will be successful in reaching our goals with Coach Jones as our leader."
Jones is the mastermind of one of the nation's most prolific offenses and was one of just 14 head coaches in the nation to also serve as offensive coordinator in 2007. Jones' run-and-shoot attack led the Western Athletic Conference and ranked in the top five nationally in each of his nine seasons at Hawai`i. In 2006, the Warriors averaged 46.9 points and 559.2 yards of total offense per game, with 441.29 yards generated through the air, leading the nation in all three categories. Hawai`i was potent in 2007 as well, leading the nation in scoring at 46.2 points per game. Under Jones, the Warriors broke more than 400 school records and 50 NCAA records.
"A winning football program has the potential to bring thousands of people of all backgrounds to campus on a regular basis - with students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community coming together for a shared experience - especially when the games are played at a high caliber," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "At SMU, we are committed to high quality in everything we do."
Jones-tutored quarterbacks have secured their place among the all-time greats in collegiate football, with Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan holding several NCAA records. In 2004, Chang made NCAA history by becoming the all-time passing leader with 17,072 yards, and in 2007, Colt Brennan, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy race, broke 29 NCAA records, including passing touchdowns in a season (58) and career (131).
Jones was named the 1999 National Coach of the Year (CNN/Sports Illustrated, American Football Coach/Schutt Sports & The Sporting News) after leading the Warriors to a share of the WAC Championship and a 23-17 win over Oregon State in the Jeep O'ahu Bowl. It was the program's first bowl game since 1992. The 1999 season also marked the first of three Conference Coach of the Year awards for Jones (1999, 2006, 2007).
On the heels of an injury-plagued 3-9 season in 2000, Jones was involved in a car accident on Feb. 22, 2001, that nearly claimed his life. The accident kept Jones out of the entire spring session, but his tireless effort to recover allowed him to return to the field in time for fall camp.
In 2001, receiver Chad Owens led the nation in kickoff return average (33.6 yards) and Chang led the nation in total offense (349.7 yards) before bowing out to a wrist injury as Hawai`i went 9-3.
The 2002 campaign saw Hawai`i post a 10-win season and claim a victory in the ConAgra Foods Hawai`i Bowl.
The 2003 season marked the first with a roster comprised of all Jones' recruits, and Jones led the team to a successful 9-5 campaign as the Warriors won the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl with a 54-48 triple-overtime victory over Houston. That gave Jones his second bowl win and third bowl appearance at Hawai`i, both the most of any coach in the 96 years of the program.
The 2004 season marked one of the best finishes in Hawai`i football history. The Warriors won their last three games to earn an invitation to a bowl game and Jones and crew capped the comeback season with a convincing 59-40 win over UAB in the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl.
While the 5-7 2005 season was plagued with injuries, the 2006 campaign brought about renewed enthusiasm.
In 2006, the Warriors posted an 11-3 mark and finished second in the WAC with a 7-1 league record. The only blemish in conference was a loss to eventual WAC Champion and BCS bowl team Boise State. During the season, Brennan caught the nation's attention as the junior tossed an NCAA-record 58 touchdowns while the squad went on to win the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl a fourth time.
Jones has also led players to success in the classroom, as his Hawai`i teams produced 27 Academic All-WAC honorees in his first eight years at the Hawai`i helm.
Before joining the Warriors in 1999, Jones enjoyed a 12-year coaching career in the NFL, including head coaching stops at Atlanta (1994-96) and San Diego (1998). With the Falcons, Jones guided the team that he once played for to a playoff wild-card berth in 1995.
Originally from Portland, Ore., Jones graduated from New York State Regents College after playing quarterback at Oregon (1971-1972), Hawaii (1973-1974), and Portland State (1975-1976) and went on to play professionally for the Atlanta Falcons (1977-1981) of the NFL and the Toronto Argonauts (1982) of the Canadian Football League.
SMU, the only Division I athletic program in Dallas, Texas, sponsors 17 sports and has been ranked as the top school in its conference for 10 straight years in the Director's Cup overall athletic rankings. More information about SMU and its coaches, athletes and teams is available at www.SMUMustangs.com.