TEMPE, Ariz. » Leigh Steinberg believed he had a deal for SMU’s June Jones to become the next coach at Arizona State.
When the deal fell through at the last second, the agent started lashing out on Twitter.
"Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation," Steinberg wrote on his Twitter feed, @Steinberg Sports. "Everything was set, few tweaks left, and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation."
Arizona State had no comment, but chief operating officer Steve Patterson told Houston TV station KRIV that Jones wouldn’t be the Sun Devils’ coach and that the process continues.
SMU president R. Gerald Turner told the Dallas Morning News that Jones will remain as the Mustangs’ coach for 2012.
Arizona State has been searching for a coach since Dennis Erickson was fired Nov. 28 after five seasons of failing to live up to expectations in the desert. The Sun Devils started this season 6-2 to become bowl eligible for the first time in four years, but lost their final four regular-season games.
The Sun Devils reportedly were in talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, which broke down after Texas A&M fired coach Mike Sherman.
Arizona State then turned to Jones, who successfully rebuilt programs at SMU and Hawaii. The sides were reportedly close to a deal when negotiations abruptly came to an end, apparently after issues were raised about Jones’ character — which infuriated Steinberg.
"June Jones character is impeccable and unimpeachable, has done charitable & community,active & spiritual Christian faith," Steinberg tweeted. "For any institution to try and scorch the earth by impugning man of honor is despicable."