The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Coach Jones ready for the challenge ahead

Signs dotted around the Hilltop say it pretty well: June comes early this year.

The signs are promoting tomorrow’s Red and Blue Scrimmage, but it’s a fair statement that it arrived even earlier when June Jones was hired in early January as the next football coach at SMU.

The ex-Hawaii coach admits he hasn’t seen much of his new city since he arrived to resuscitate the Mustang football program.

“It has been non-stop since I’ve gotten here,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s dark when I come in and dark when I get home.”

Home for now is an apartment a few minutes away from campus. He hasn’t had time to go house hunting – that will happen after this weekend when the coach finally has the chance to catch his breath.

Jones certainly hasn’t had time to do that.

He immediately had to hit the recruiting trail, and defied expectations by putting together a recruiting class in a matter of weeks. Experts predicted, and even Athletic Director Steve Orsini admitted, that the 2008 class was likely to be a wash.

It wasn’t, as some of Jones’ recruits and new ones made their way to SMU.

“Some of these kids decommitted from big schools to come here,” Jones said. “We never got any of that at Hawaii, we couldn’t get those kinds of kids.”

Jones said the restrictions that SMU became known for after the Death Penalty have been a non-issue for him. During his courtship he met with SMU President R. Gerald Turner and other leaders who convinced him the school would be serious about giving Jones the resources to put together a winner on the field.

It was enough to make Jones feel secure about taking the job.

“They realize the potential is far greater in every area if you have a successful football program,” he said.

Working at SMU is like a football nirvana for the head coach. One of the main reasons he left Hawaii was the lack of commitment to renovating deteriorating facilities and a small support staff. Jones said the first three years he was coach on the island, he was in charge of scheduling flights for away games, chartering buses and arranging recruiting trips all while performing his usual coaching duties.

Jones said he doesn’t have those problems anymore.

“I am not a person who asks for a whole lot,” he said. “I feel like I have so many more things in place than I’ve ever had before. I just feel like we have the right people.”

All of those people are in place to turn around an SMU football team that went 1-11 last season and has only one winning season since returning from the Death Penalty.

Jones knows the challenges. But that’s why he took the job in the first place.

“I think I like the challenge,” he said. “I think that the reward is always great when you are willing to take a risk or take a chance no one else has been able to do.”

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