June Jones has turned down proposed conditions to return for a second tenure as the University of Hawaii head football coach.
Jones, the winningest head coach in UH’s Division I football history, met today with UH athletic director David Matlin. Jones’ financial compensation was not discussed.
“I am still interested in this job for the people of Hawaii, but the job offered me today, there is no way I could accept with the conditions offered me,” Jones tweeted. “No coach in their right mind would accept!”
Jones was prepared to ask about the financial range for assistant coaches, as well as the recruiting budget and other planned resources for the program, according to agent Leigh Steinberg. Instead, Jones was told he would be offered a two-year contract, Steinberg said. “That is a longer rebuilding job than necessarily two years,” said Steinberg, adding that Jones did not make any contract proposal.
Steinberg said UH’s proposal also called for the athletic director to have final approval on Jones’ hirings for assistant coaches. “Which are conditions no coach really agrees to,” Steinberg said. “June said, ‘under these circumstances, how can I take this job and not do what I did the first time I was here? Which was choose coaches who will be the best.’”
Jones turned down those conditions during the meeting.
“Dictating who can be on my staff and only 2 year contract … what recruit would come if I was here for 2 years?” Jones tweeted. “This has never been about money — but it is about giving me the ability to turn our program around and not have people tell me who is on my staff or how to coach my team.”
Steinberg said this is a “bump in the road” and hoped talks would continue. He said Jones still is interested in coaching the Warriors.
After news of Jones’ rejection circulated, Matlin issued this statement:
“We met with Coach Jones earlier today and, unfortunately, could not come to terms with an agreement for him to be our next head football coach. I understand that there has been a lot of support for Coach Jones this past week but he has declined our offer. I respect his decision and we need to move forward in our search. At the end of the day we couldn’t agree on a succession plan that I felt was important for our student-athletes and supporters of Rainbow Warrior football. We are working tirelessly to get a head coach on board to lead our program and are fully aware of the sensitivity to national signing day on Feb. 2.”
On Monday, Jones, 68, applied for the job that was vacated with Todd Graham’s resignation last week in the aftermath of complaints of the culture Graham fostered under his two-season leadership.
Jones received widespread support from former and current players, coaches, and business leaders.
Jones and Matlin met in a Zoom meeting on Wednesday. Matlin, who returned from a mainland trip today, also interviewed other candidates on Wednesday.
The rejection appears to vault former UH quarterback Tim Chang as a front-runner for the job. Brian Smith, a former UH center who was at Washington State, also is a known candidate.
The Rainbow Warriors, who have been training under interim head coach Jacob Yoro, are falling behind in the recruiting battle. They have nearly 20 scholarships to fill. Beginning today, there are only two recruiting weekends ahead of the Feb. 2 signing period for football prospects.