He was hired away from Hawaii to be the savior of SMU football but in the end June Jones never was the fit in Dallas that the school needed to make the program nationally relevant. On Tuesday, June resigned after his team's 0-2 start that included blowout losses to Baylor and North Texas by the combined score of 88-6.
Maybe it was his disagreement with the school over lowering academic standards for football players, or his flirtation with Arizona State, but this relationship was one that was better in theory than in reality.
Other than the 2009 season, when SMU finished 8-5 and made the Hawaii Bowl for the program's first postseason appearance and win since the Death Penalty, the June Jones era never hit the highs the program wanted he was hired in 2008. SMU was 36-43 in six-plus seasons with three winning records.
This remains a difficult job that the new realities of college football have only made dramatically more challenging since June accepted the position. Fan support at Ford Stadium in Dallas is sporadic at best, and the affiliation with the American Athletic Conference makes a team like SMU pretty much out on any chance of reaching the final four.
When June was hired he had just taken Hawaii to the BCS and the Sugar Bowl. At the time, second-tier conference schools such as Hawaii, Boise State, Utah and TCU were getting into BCS games. SMU hired June with the idea that he could do for the Ponies what Gary Patterson did for TCU.
While TCU was winning the Rose Bowl and accepting an invite into the Big 12, SMU was flirting with six wins and lower bowl eligibility.
With the Power Five Conferences running college football, it will take a perfect season plus political pressure and a miracle to crack this new final four for SMU, or any team not in the country club.
It never looked like June wanted to be at SMU for any other reason than to collect a huge check, coach on game days, and to play golf and go home. SMU needs a highly motivated, creative and tireless worker to make the program relevant and successful again.
June Jones was not a failure by any means, and his teams provided a few memorable moments from a bowl win to defeating TCU in Fort Worth, but overall this was a hire that was not the type of hit the school needed.
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