We wrote yesterday about the slow start SMU had experienced to start the season, and the momentum the SMU football program did not have at this time. It appears head coach June Jones agreed. On Monday afternoon, word broke out of Dallas that the Mustangs' head coach will resign.
The news was first reported by Bill Nichols of the Dallas Morning News, and then confirmed by Jones' agent, Leigh Steinberg. Needless to say, this is the first FBS head coaching change of 2014. It has now been announced by the school.
"This afternoon, I talked to my staff and players and notified them that I have decided to resign as SMU head football coach effective immediately,” said Jones in a statement. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make, as you can imagine. I have devoted my life for the last 50 years to playing and coaching this game and it has been a great journey. This job has a lot of demands, as you know, and along with that journey comes a price that is paid. I have some personal issues I have been dealing with and I need to take a step away so I can address them at this time."
Hired away from Hawaii after leading the Warriors to an undefeated regular season and a Sugar Bowl appearance, Jones brought near immediate success to a program that had not experienced it in two decades. After a 1-11 debut season, Jones led SMU to an 8-5 mark, a Conference USA West Division title and a win in the Hawaii Bowl - its first post-death penalty bowl win - in 2009. SMU again won the C-USA West in 2010, and saw its bowl streak extend to four seasons as the Mustangs went 30-23 from 2009-12. And then came the decline.
The Mustangs were 5-7 a year ago, and off to a dreadful start in 2014. Over the course of six days, SMU was outsored 88-6 by Baylor and North Texas to start the season, and ranks dead last or second to last nationally in a number of offensive categories.
Jones went 36-43 in seven seasons and change at SMU, and is 112-84 in 16 seasons as a head coach.
The school has announced that defensive coordinator Tom Mason will serve as interim head coach. Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach Dan Morrison and Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Jason Phillips as co-offensive coordinators.
“We have some talented and really good kids, who just happen to be young. Tom Mason will take over the head coaching duties," Jones said. "Tom has done a great job with the defense since coming to SMU. This being a bye week will give all the coaches and players a chance to evaluate themselves and make the changes needed for their preparation in getting ready for the next couple games and conference play the rest of the way. I would like to thank all the people here at SMU that have supported the vision we have had here. I feel we have made SMU relevant again in football by going to four bowls in my six years as a Mustang. I am very thankful for the opportunity I was given and wish only the best for the players, coaches and administration at SMU."
SMU is off this week, and hosts Texas A&M and TCU in consecutive weeks to close September.