DALLAS — SMU coach June Jones has signed a two-year contract extension that would keep him at the school through the 2014 season.
After going 1-11 in his first season, SMU improved to 8-5 last year and went to the Hawaii Bowl to end a 25-year bowl drought. The Mustangs’ seven-win improvement was the largest for any team in Division I college football last season.
The extension announced Friday was agreed on by Jones and athletic director Steve Orsini before the final regular-season game last year, even before the Mustangs received a bowl bid.
“Coach Jones has brought a winning culture to our football program, and under his leadership, I know he will soon exceed my goal for the football program here at SMU, and that is to be a perennial Top 25 team,” Orsini said. “He has more than earned this extension.”
Before taking the job, Jones was 76-41 in nine seasons while taking Hawaii from a national embarrassment to a BCS bowl game. The Warriors were coming off an 0-11 season when Jones got there, but his final game was the Sugar Bowl after a 12-0 regular season in 2007.
Jones initially signed a five-year contract with SMU. The two-year extension pushes his current deal back to five years.
“I’m very excited about the direction of the program and the university, and I’m happy to sign this extension,” Jones said. “I want to thank Steve and President (Gerald) Turner for this and for their help and cooperation in rebuilding our program. Their support and the support of the SMU community will allow us to be successful for years to come.”
SMU had not been to a bowl game since the Aloha Bowl in 1984, prior to the so-called “death penalty” from the NCAA for rampant violations that included paying players. The program was not allowed to field a team for the 1987 and ’88 seasons.
After it restarted in 1989, there had been only one winning season before last year.
SMU returns six offensive and seven defensive starters this season. The Mustangs open Sept. 5 at Texas Tech in a nationally televised game.