Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Did That Just Happen?

So here I am sitting at my computer listening to the Black Keys’ “El Camino” (which I highly recommend, BTW) and I am just flabbergasted. I thought I was going to write about a coaching search. Seriously. Just a giant case of WTF?-itis. Did this just happen? Did this just unhappen?

Last Thursday, I was listening to the Troy Aikman show on the KTCK. They talked for a minute about the UCLA coaching search. Troy said he was excited because he had some information on who they were looking at, but he wouldn’t share. For some reason, that made me nervous; I had a suspicion he was talking about June. Aikman and June Jones have the same agent-Leigh Steinberg.

I thought on Monday June Jones was leaving and going to Arizona State. I assumed on Tuesday, June Jones was staying. I was sure Wednesday AM he was leaving for Arizona State. Then, on Thursday afternoon, it breaks that Arizona State has withdrawn its offer.

For those that need a refresher, here is a timeline:

November 28th- ASU fires Dennis Erickson. ASU hires Dallas search firm Eastman & Beaudine to assist with the search. Eastman & Beaudine assisted with the SMU searches that led to the selections of Steve Orsini, Matt Doherty and June Jones. Bob Beaudine is a graduate of SMU.

December 2nd-SMU begins the biggest recruiting weekend in the last 20+ years.

December 3rd-At some point during the day, ASU officials meet with June Jones for several hours.

Late December 4th-June Jones is announced as the only finalist for the ASU coaching position. Outrage on the message boards, twitter, myspace, tumbler and, hell, probably e-harmony as well, breaks out suggesting that June Jones is not acceptable. Apparently, in the mind of the ASU fan, June Jones is “Dennis Erickson-lite,” which I guess means a decent name, player coach, old and mediocre.

December 5th-Outrage on the web has reached such a fever-pitch that ASU backs off and is determined to slow things down, interview the Sumlin and Fedora’s of the world at the coaching convention in NY taking place as I write this. This is all well and good, but it quickly appearing that Fedora is going to UNC; Sumlin is likely going to A&M; Art Briles is uninterested in leaving Baylor.

December 6th- By the end of the day, June Jones is the only candidate again.

SMU LB recruit Thomas Brown commits to ASU. This is interesting. ASU doesn’t have a coach. Thomas Brown has never visited there. Thomas Brown has said he was deciding between Nebraska and SMU. Now he is committed to ASU.

Khalil Pettway, SMU commit, the highest rated recruit in SMU’s class, decommits. He was visiting this past weekend while June Jones talked with ASU.

At some point, June calls his staff together for a meeting in Dallas on the 7th. This is interesting because, (i) his staff is on the road recruiting; and (ii) he is supposed to be in NY. There is an alumni event in NY on the 7th and both Steve Orsini and June Jones are supposed to be in attendance.

Outrage is beginning to percolate on the ASU boards again.

December 7th-AM: June Jones has agreed to coach ASU. There is a deal in principle. June meets with his staff and says he is leaving. June apparently tells some players he is leaving, although there is no team meeting.

ASU outrage is boiling.

December 7th-PM: June is clearly out at ASU. He will not coach at ASU. Money quote from Leigh Steinberg: "Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set, few tweaks left, and the principal decision maker yanks the deal with no real explanation."

Can’t find the quote, but Turner says that June Jones will lead SMU to the Big East or something to that effect.

Orsini still attends the NY alumni event (obviously, June who was/is in Dallas, was not in attendance). Austin Kilgore was there and tweeted about it. His twitter feed is here:

Orsini suggests June will continue to be the coach. Gerald Ford suggests the same. I am not going to say “follow” the guy, but his tweets from this event are interesting. Go read them. Or follow the guy. He does something with real estate and mortgages. I am sure it is riveting.


You can go to ponyfans or rivals or scout and read the same speculation, but it is just that: speculation. Bottom line right now is June Jones either leaves stays or he is leaving voluntarily or involuntarily. If I had to place a bet, I wouldn’t. If you gave me money and told me I had to place a bet, I suppose right now I bet June Jones is coaching SMU next week, next month and next year.

I can see June Jones “retiring” from college coaching, with a plan to coach again when this blows over. He would not be at SMU and SMU wouldn’t pay him. I guess June could get a job as a QB coach in the NFL, though I doubt anyone would hire him as a coordinator or head coach. If he “retired,” however, if I were SMU, I hold the contract over him until it expires in 2015, keeping him out as a head coach at the college level.

I can see SMU sacking June Jones over this, though that appears unlikely. The “Circle of Champions” would have to make the call and pony up the money to buy out Jones and then pay for a new coach. I don’t think people realize the money involved there. More likely, SMU and June Jones reaching a mutual agreement to part ways. The parties would have to negotiate some dollar amount less than the $6,000,000 he is owed on his contract. Contrary to the views of the amateur lawyers on the message boards, I don’t see “cause” to fire Jones over this, meaning SMU would have to buy him out of the approximately $6,000,000 he is owed on his contract. That being said, if June and his staff used SMU resources to recruit kids to another university….

I can’t see June Jones coaching anywhere but SMU in 2012. He is toxic to programs at this point. Rivals notes the $2,000,000 buyout. Yes, that is something. However, the first thing that will be brought up is the ASU matter.

June has some work to do. I am not forgiving this. This was nonsense. June Jones needs to sit down with Orsini and figure out how he will fix this mess. Reassure recruits for this year and next. Reassure the assistants for this year and next. Oh, and reassure the fanbase, too... if he can.


Unknown said...

Unreal. If June wants to leave because of the abysmal student attendance at the games, I understand his frustration. But he owes his players and Garrett Gilbert and the alums who came up with his salary a hell of a lot more than that. ASU should be investigated for the SMU player who wishes to transfer. That is Tampering. Taking June back would be like taking your wife back after she's leaked it that she is attempting to leave you for another man--after taking your money and agreeing to stay married to you. "Intergrity," his agent used to describe the coach. LEAVING when you have a contractural obligation and a moral one to your players is not "itegrity."

JTOutloud said...

Mess. I was so excited for this next season and what could happen in the next 5 years with the new conference and level of recruits. The last 24 hours have turned my entire outlook around. Bummed out.

Anonymous said...

Great to have you back. Please keep blogging. I don't know of another source for quality SMU football news and commentary.