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University of Hawaii criticizes June Jones’ public lobbying

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2020
                                University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin (left) spoke with University of Hawaii president David Lassner during a men’s basketball game.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2020

    University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin (left) spoke with University of Hawaii president David Lassner during a men’s basketball game.

The University of Hawaii addressed public complaints from June Jones on the Hawaii football coaching search, saying today that Jones “showed zero integrity in this process.”

University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said in a Zoom meeting with the media that Jones and athletic director David Matlin met for 30 minutes on Friday before Jones walked out.

“The job is still open,” Meisenzahl said. “Time is of the essence right now. We’re moving forward, but the job has not been filled yet.”

Meisenzahl said anything is possible, but was strong in his criticism of Jones, saying, “Work history matters and leadership would be foolish not to take all of that into consideration.”

He brought up specific examples of Jones fighting UH on his buyout for a year when he took the SMU job in 2008; Arizona State withdrawing its offer to Jones for the head coaching job in 2012 at the last minute “reportedly on character concerns” and then Jones leaving SMU in 2014 after an 0-2 start.

“Coach Jones left in 2008 and it was a different time back then and though there were record success on the field, there were also concerns with priorities and student-athletes and acting as a de facto athletic director and chancellor,” Meisenzahl said. “He often demonstrated little interest in being accountable to his supervisor.”

UH was not happy with Jones’ public pursuit of the job. In Friday’s meeting, UH said the contract offer was increased from two to three years and it was just the beginning of a negotiation.

Jones said on social media Friday that he was offered a two-year contract and would not have final say over choosing his assistant coaches.

He added he still wanted the job after Friday’s meeting if terms could be reached.

Meisenzahl said the final decision on a coach would come from Matlin and need to be approved by UH president David Lassner. The board of regents would have to get involved to approve a contract of more than five years or a salary more than $500,000.

Meisenzahl said the university is in full support of Matlin and the job he has done over the past seven years. He acknowledged that Matlin knows the hiring of former coach Todd Graham was a “mistake.”

Matlin did not make an appearance in the meeting.

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