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Sunday, January 6, 2008
Source says Jones will sign $10 million deal to coach SMU

By Joe Schad
ESPN.com

SMU was close to finalizing the details of a contract for Hawaii coach June Jones and he was expected to be introduced at a news conference as soon as Monday, a source close to the situation said Sunday afternoon.

June Jones

Jones

If the deal goes through, Jones' contract is expected to be for five years at close to $2 million per year. The deal 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.

But Jones' agent Leigh Steinberg said that no decision had been reached as of early Monday morning. Hawaii had made another pitch to Jones that included a raise and promises to upgrade facilities. The coach had also been inundated with pleas from many associated the Hawaii program to stay.

Jones, who flew to Dallas on Saturday, would bring an exciting offense and instantly make nearly twice as much as any other coach in Conference USA.

A number of media outlets have reported that Jones has resigned as Hawaii's football coach.

Kent Untermann, a former Hawaii player and member of Na Koa, the school's booster club, told KHNL that Jones was leaving because of frustration with how the athletic department was run, not because he felt his salary was too low.

The Honolulu Advertiser, citing Jones' friend Al Souza, reported that Jones resigned Saturday morning.

Steinberg, said that wasn't exactly the case.

"As of now, the process is ongoing," Steinberg said. "He hasn't accepted SMU; he hasn't accepted Hawaii."

The school and Jones have not made an official announcement.

Jones earned $800,016 a year under a five-year contract with Hawaii that expires June 30.

A new deal would make him the highest-paid coach in the Western Athletic Conference. ESPN has learned that the base salary would start at $1.5 million per year. Hawaii would not say how much it offered Jones. But figures provided by the university show Fresno State's Pat Hill, who earns an annual salary of $1,229,996, is the highest-paid WAC coach.

Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said he asked Jones to call him before deciding on SMU's offer.

Hawaii finished this season 12-0 before losing to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl -- the school's first bowl appearance on the mainland since 1992.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.