Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest author: Defending June Jones

By @a_zone. The views expressed in this article don't match my own opinion, but I wanted to give the author a forum to express his point of view.

NOTE: ASU’s head coaching search is constantly in motion, so much so that I started writing this on Sunday night [December 4] and it is already probably irrelevant. Still, this is my defense if June Jones gets hired by ASU, which seems less likely to happen as of this morning.

I see you ASU fan, I see you on the ledge. I know what put you there, the thought of ASU hiring June Jones as their head coach. I'm here to talk you off the ledge. I understand why you are there, but I believe you are there for faulty reasons.

I know why you are down. You've had dreams of Kevin Sumlin dancing in your head this holiday season. You spent a week reading rumors that Sumlin was practically on his way to ASU, only to have the rug pulled out from under you by Texas A&M. ASU has turned their attention to other coaches, with June Jones leading in the clubhouse. To you he is a “retread” an “old guy” and “another Erickson.” But let me tell you what he really is . . . Kevin Sumlin 10 years form now.

In my opinion, the only argument for Sumlin over Jones is age. Jones is in his late 50s, Sumlin in his late 40s. Don't bring Houston's 12-1 record this year into play, because I'll just counter with Hawaii's 12-1 record and BCS bowl appearance in 2008. But Hawaii didn't play anyone, you say? Well, take a gander at Houston's schedule this year.

Let me tell you what June Jones has done: rebuilt awful programs. People point to his 23-28 record at SMU as “average,” I see it as a borderline miracle. Since its death penalty in the late 80s, SMU had gone 58-153 since Jones' arrival. Take out Jones' first year with an awful team (1-11) and his record at SMU is 22-17. Still not impressed? I give you the 1999 Hawaii Warriors, who were 0-12 when June Jones took over and went 9-4 with a bowl victory the very next year. He also led Hawaii to back-to-back 11 win seasons and a BCS appearance.

Jones is known for being a disciple of the Run & Shoot offense, which is sort of a pre-cursor to today’s spread offenses. His offense is QB friendly, just ask Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan. From his days at Hawaii and SMU, he has experience recruiting in California and Texas - which is vital for someone coaching at ASU.

June Jones’ isn’t a sexy hire, but people are confusing “not sexy” with “terrible,” which simply isn’t true. Jones is a hell of a coach, and I would love to see what he could do with a BCS school with an existing talent base. Jones has spent his entire college career turning terrible programs into above average ones, it’s time for him to turn an average program into a great one.

Also, when UofA fans make fun of the hire, you can just tell them that the last Pac-10(12) coach from Hawaii was their beloved Dick Tomey. What's their comeback to that?


Josh said...

Beautiful argument. I would also like to add I am a current ASU student who grew up in Hawaii during the JJ era.
When Jones first came to the islands, nobody really respected him at first because he immediately became the highest-paid state employee. When he threatened to leave, everybody including the governor begged the AD to throw more money at him.
JJ is exactly the Sun Devils need. An experience coach who has much experience in turning bad programs into Cinderellas. He's a disciplinarian— something Erickson wasn't that led to his downfall. No way he makes the same coaching mistakes in a game as DE does, and with the run & shoot offense being a mostly-read offense, he can't really go wrong with playcalling. Honestly, I don't see how anybody doesn't like this, let alone hate it.

gunkdog said...

I can appreciate the support for June Jones based on his accomplishments at small schools with horrible football programs. This is NOT a horrible football program. This is NOT an empty cupboard. This is NOT a small school with a small alumni base.

Jones is a players coach with loose discpline...sound familiar? If we go this route, we should have kept Erickson at the lower salary.