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

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Student says ‘June Goeth,’ despite team’s improvement

When I received word that June Jones was “officially” leaving SMU to fill the head coaching job at ASU Wednesday morning, I felt a variety of emotions:

Anger: You don’t start a project and leave it half way done. You don’t make statements alluding that you will retire your coaching career at one school only to bolt to the next. And if you do, then you don’t try and teach people to act otherwise. Players have always spoken highly of Coach June Jones’ ethics of hard work and diligence. Apparently the one lesson he didn’t give was that when a better opportunity arises, drop your commitments, and maximize your benefit at any cost, no matter who else gets caught up in the storm. “Practice hard” he says. Practice what you preach, June.

Gratefulness: No matter the betrayal we all felt, you can’t ignore what he did for this program. Some can say the past three years were sub-par seasons; yes if you are comparing them to the seasons of top 25 programs. What a lot of people don’t put into perspective is that we were a bottom 25 program (literally, one week in 2008 we were the second worst team out of all 120 NCAA Division 1 teams according to ESPN). After his first year of going 1-11 in 2008, he took us to an 8-5 season as Division Co-Champs and a pounding Bowl victory against Nevada — the first bowl game we had been to since 1984. The next year, 2010 we went 7-7, to another Bowl game, and to the C-USA Championship for the first time in history and to our first conference championship game since 1984 when we were crowned Southwest Conference Champs. This year, we had our hardest schedule since the late ‘80s with four teams who were ranked in the top 25 at least once during the season (Texas A&M, TCU, Southern Miss, Houston) with two in top 10. We also claimed the Iron Skillet and took it back to Dallas after defeating No. 20 TCU, the first ranked opponent we had beaten since 2005 (against TCU as well) and going 7-5 and into another Bowl game against Pitt this January. Another reason to throw the pony ears up this year was in regards to our invite to the Big East. Regardless of June’s involvement in that process, it happened while he was here and I give him the benefit of the doubt that he had a part in that success. So take a step back, and look at the abyss he dragged us out of. No matter what happens from here on out, you have to give him credit for bringing us the three most successful years of SMU Football since 1987.

Understanding: I won’t harp on this for too long, but we all know it’s true: our spirit, although improved slightly, sucks. And it would be naive to say it’s not an incentive for any coach (or recruit, for that matter) to go elsewhere. I attribute this problem to us as students deciding to go home to sleep off the Boulevard and prepare for their Saturday night rather than going to the game. I also place blame on the administration for allegedly refusing to allocate an appropriate amount of funds to help cultivate a successful marketing campaign to fill the empty seats. I say allegedly because my knowledge of this subject is weak and I don’t want to misspeak. What is certain is that both the students and the administration could be doing A LOT more to support such a hard-working, successful group of players. They deserve our cheers until the game clock hits 00:00 and they aren’t that hard to give (God Forbid you even stay and sing the Varsity with the team!). The turnout at the the game against defending Conference Champs, UCF, that DIRECTLY FOLLOWED the momentous TCU win, was the most pathetic showing I have ever seen at Ford Stadium. And, I was truly embarrassed and I think no one put it better than SMU Football player Stephen Nelson in his The Daily Campus article, “Football player asks, where’s the spirit?”

Then came the dramatic twist that Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg (fun fact: Steinberg is the lawyer whom the movie “Jerry Maguire” is based off of) called one of the most “bizarre” endings to any deal he had ever worked. ASU had inexplicably canceled their plans to hire Jones. In my opinion, it had something to do with the extremely adverse reactions of the ASU community that went viral once the SunDevils saw that the Jones deal was drawing nearer to completion. Personally, I didn’t see one positive thought on their side about him coaching there. Immediately I felt a sense of pride for my school and since in my mind I had already separated Jones from my SMU family, I felt defensive and protective over a program that has gone through so much and worked so hard. I don’t like when others take advantage of people I care about, and I care about our football team. For Jones to say he would retire his coaching career at SMU only to revoke that promise —albeit, a weak promise — to leave before his contract was up, and then run into a stopgap at ASU, blowing a tire in what he thought was a clean getaway, leaves me with no sympathy to give. I didn’t and still don’t want him to come back, although the latest news is that he will coach through 2012. For me, character should always be put before an easy way out; Jones obviously didn’t uphold that creed, but I think allowing him to return is also “an easy way out.” I would be fine with politely dismissing him, than taking the knife out of our back and giving it back to the one who put it there.

I understand that he is an amazing coach, but I think the ramifications of SMU so willingly taking back Jones will be more severe than we think. He has lost respect from the community, the campus and undoubtedly from in the locker room as well and that will show on the field. Recruits see this behavior, boosters see this behavior, and players, the ones who are supposed to work their hardest for him, will have to endure him as their leader, knowing of this behavior. You can’t tell me that the risk of hiring a new coach is much different than the risk of letting someone who abandoned his team back onto the field. It will be interesting to see the toll it takes on SMU Football, although I will of course hope for the best. But as for me, I say June Goeth

Ricky Townsend is a senior majoring in Marketing in the Cox School of business. He can be reached for comments at [email protected]

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