June Jones' departure would spoil SMU party
If June Jones is heading to Arizona State, as sources have said, there's something inherently wrong about the SMU coach abandoning his players and the school on the day the Mustangs are supposed to announce they'll be joining the Big East at 4 p.m.
(Eds note: As of 3:30 p.m. CT, the June Jones-to-Arizona State negotiations have hit a contractual snag and are not complete, a source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com's Joe Schad.)
This is supposed to be a great day for SMU with its return to a big-time football conference -- at least it hopes so -- and some degree of national relevance.
Instead, Jones' decision to leave for Arizona State makes SMU a laughingstock.
But for every SMU fan and alum who's salty at Jones for leaving, they should at least thank him for resurrecting the program. Jones is 23-28 in four seasons at SMU while leading the Mustangs to three consecutive bowl games.
Remember, this program was in disarray when he arrived.
But he couldn't get it over the hump, and it became clear that Jones became disenchanted with the fan support. Only about 14,000 showed for the Mustangs' final home game against Rice.
SMU, though, missed a chance to capitalize on its momentum from upsetting TCU, when it was blown out by Southern Mississippi (27-3) and Tulsa (38-7) on consecutive weeks. SMU lost four of five after beating TCU, the signature win Jones had been searching for.
It's rarely tidy when a coach leaves.
They either lie. Or go underground, so they don’t have to lie.
A couple of days ago, Jones reportedly told his staff that he was happy at SMU and wasn't leaving. Apparently, something changed.
That won't make transfer quarterback Garrett Gilbert feel any better. He transferred from Texas after getting benched because he wanted to play in prolific passing offense that would help prepare him for the NFL.
Now he has no idea what offense the next coach will run.
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