SMU will pursue Hawaii coach Junes Jones and is prepared to pay between $1.5-1.7 million per year to lure him to the Conference USA school, according to two people familiar with SMU's strategy.
Although Jones' contract expires after this year, Hawaii has yet to make a contract offer to the coach, who just completed his ninth season with the Warriors.
Jones led Hawaii to a 12-1 mark this season, the only loss coming Tuesday in the Allstate Sugar Bowl when the Warriors were routed by Georgia, 41-10. He is 75-41 with the Warriors. Previously, he coached three seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and was an interim head coach in San Diego.
After the Sugar Bowl, Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said he would not negotiate with Jones through the media and would not comment on SMU's interest in the Warriors' coach.
SMU may have a backup strategy, however. ESPN.com's John Clayton reports that the school has contacted Mike Martz, who was fired as offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions on Wednesday.
Former Miami coach Larry Coker and former Texas AM coach Dennis Franchione already have spoken with SMU about the job opening.
In October, SMU fired Mustangs coach Phil Bennett, who was 18-52 in six seasons.
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN. Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.