Monday, January 7, 2008

If You Thought June Jones Could Be Talked Into Staying At Hawaii, You May Want To Get Tested For "Retard"

Hawaii learned this lesson the hard way.

Everything about Hawaii's football's 2008 "Dream Season" was so cute. It was cute how they had an overrated Heisman candidate who shit the bed against the only decent defense he's faced in his entire career and it was adorable how they all did that crazy dance before the game and it was no less cute than a button that they thought they had a chance to beat Georgia in a BCS game. Their whole season made Grandma's across the country just want to run out onto the field and give those third rate football players a collective cheek squeeze and a nickel from their purses for being so adorable. But then reality set in and Colt Brennan lost the Heisman badly and Georgia beat Hawaii like they stole something and all of the sudden they went from "cute" to that weird looking kid with the huge forehead and lazy eye in the picture on your co-worker's desk that everyone talks about behind his back but no one has the balls to ask him about. Not-so-cute. But even after those tough lessons learned, Hawaii thought the cute season would roll over into the offseason and that "cute tactics" would overcome wheelbarrows of cash. They were sorely mistaken.

June Jones ran a wide open style of freewheeling football that got players drafted and locals excited at Hawaii. In 2007-08 he caught lightning in a bottle and got through his cake schedule undefeated and all of the sudden Hawaii was in a bowl game and on the proverbial map. And while that success brings with it exposure and opportunity for the university, and that's a good thing for the program, it's also a huge problem in terms of keeping your now nationally renowned coaching staff in a program that traditionally doesn't pay its coaches jack shit. But Hawaii thought that because of this great season and all the positive press and the positive energy in the community and all this bullshit they could hold onto June Jones without having to match the salary offered by SMU and instead could resort to non-monetary tactics. Oops:
"Jones was touched by the outpouring of support from Hawaii fans, including Gov. Linda Lingle, but he was ultimately lured by SMU's facilities and bigger budget. Jones called Hawaii officials Monday to tell them.

'In 30 years representing athletes, I've never seen the emotional reaction from a state like Hawaii," Steinberg (Jones' agent) said. "There was a flood of e-mails and calls exhorting him to stay.'"
You see Jones loved his time at Hawaii, but he's not idiot, money talks and Hawaii was never going to make the monetary commitment to improve the program beyond where he had taken it. And he didn't pull any punches when asked about it:
Besides more money, Jones will be in the middle of the rich Texas recruiting base, and he'll get better facilities -- SMU recently built a new brick-faced stadium and a modern training center.

"There's absolutely no comparison," Jones said. At Hawaii, "the office that I sat in was the same office that Dick Tomey sat in in 1986. The carpet was the same ... You're talking about the NFL and a Pop Warner team."

"No matter what he ever did or no matter how much he won he wasn't going to have the right money or facilities," Colt Brennan told's Joe Schad. "I'm sad to see him go but after just having experienced the Sugar Bowl I understand how this is a business."

Steinberg said the coach accepted a five-year deal worth about $2 million per year. He said Hawaii offered about $1.6 million per year.

On Sunday, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad that the deal at SMU is expected to be booster-funded. SMU athletic director Steve Orsini reportedly has sold as many as 20 boosters on the concept of donating as much as $100,000 per year for five years.

His contract puts him on the same pay scale as new Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman ($1.8 million). Baylor, a private school like SMU, recently signed Art Briles to a deal that could pay him $1.8 million a year with all incentives included.
So yeah, it was a cute idea to get your governor involved and make all sorts of noise about how serious you are about committing to football, but June Jones is no idiot and he could see how empty those promises were and at the end of the day the only thing that mattered were dollars. This should offer a great lesson for those flash in the pan teams each year. The year after you have that "one great season," don't kid yourself into believing you've got something going unless you've got the dough to back it up. Because cute don't last forever. Look at Macaulay Culkin for cripe's sake...

No comments: