June Jones steps down as head coach citing personal issues
Head Football Coach June Jones resigned from the SMU football program on Monday afternoon.
“I have some personal issues I have been dealing with and I need to take a step away so I can address them at this time,” Jones said.
Director of Athletics Rick Hart has named Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Tom Mason interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach will be Dan Morrison and Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach is Jason Phillips.
“This afternoon, I talked to my staff and players and notified them that I have decided to resign as SMU head football coach effective immediately,” Jones said. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make, as you can imagine.”
Jones was entering his seventh season at SMU. Before SMU, Jones turned the program around at Hawaii taking the team that lost 18 games to a 9-4 team through his classic run-and-shoot offense.
“I have devoted my life for the last 50 years to playing and coaching this game, and it has been a great journey.” Jones said. “This job has a lot of demands, as you know, and along with that journey comes a price that is paid.”
Although the Mustangs are off to 0-2 this season, losing by a combined score of 88-6, the record was not the main topic at the media conference held Monday night. Athletic Director Rick Hart and SMU President R. Gerald Turner focused on Jones’ accomplishments and the legacy he leaves behind.
“As we embark upon the process of identifying our next head football coach, we are positioned to attract quality candidates due to the progress our program has made under June’s leadership,” Hart said. “When we hoist championship trophies in the future, it will be possible because of the groundwork laid out by Coach Jones, his staff and our student-athletes.”
Jones came to SMU in January of 2008 as the new head football coach, making him only the fifth coach since the death penalty in 1989. SMU signed him to a five-year contract, which made him the highest-paid coach in Conference USA. He went on to lead the Mustangs to a 1-11 record in his first season at SMU. The next season he led the Mustangs to a regular season 7-5 record, the most victories for the Mustangs since the ‘80s. SMU defeated C-USA champion East Carolina that season as well.
“June Jones has been one of the most influential individuals on SMU football since it returned to the Hilltop in 1989,” Hart said. “In addition to reestablishing SMU as a winner, June has helped shape the university and athletics department in ways which benefit student-athletes and coaches across all sports.”
Jones’ legacy at SMU can never be overlooked. He led the Mustangs to four consecutive bowl appearances from 2009-12 and a 2009 Hawaii Bowl victory over Nevada. Hart and Turner thanked Jones several times and Jones did the same.
“I would like to thank all the people here at SMU that have supported the vision we have had here,” Jones said. “I feel we have made SMU relevant again in football by going to four bowls in my six years as a Mustang. I am very thankful for the opportunity I was given and wish only the best for the players, coaches and administration at SMU.”
The Mustangs have a bye week this weekend and will host Texas A&M; at Ford Stadium Sept. 20. Jones hopes this will be a chance for the coaches and players to evaluate themselves and make the necessary changes for the rest of the season.
“Just as our university aspires to greatness, we seek to establish SMU as the top athletics program in the American Athletic Conference,” Hart said. “We will promote and protect the facilities, support services, our strong conference affiliation and media rights contracts and our enthusiastic and engaged alumni and donor base– and we will win championships on the Hilltop.”