In a move that shocks almost no one, June Jones resigned yesterday, after a weekend drubbing from Metroplex rival North Texas.
While Jones was renowned for taking SMU to four straight bowl games, his attitude post-2011 tanked everything that he built on the Hilltop, with his bumbled courtship with Arizona State proving he was ready to leave. SMU had a less-than-inspired 2012 season (though it did end with a Hawaii Bowl win).
You could tell Jones was done with the program. The Ponies finished 5-7 last year, and the week before signing day this year Jones took a trip to the beach. His heart wasn't into it.
June could talk and talk about how he came to Dallas to do his missionary work, but the fact was that SMU paid him $2 million big ones for the biggest turnaround job in Texas. It seemed Jones had plateaued out though, as eight wins was the highest amount the program would achieve. Old SMU fans still pine for the days of the Pony Express and national championship aspirations, but unfortunately those days went out of the Hilltop the day the school received the Death Penalty.
While Jones did an admirable job, I'd venture to say he did less in 5+ years at the helm than Larry Brown has done with the basketball program in half the time in terms of fan support. SMU still struggled in the attendance realm, and post-2011 many were ready to see him go.
The SMU job is an attractive one: the program is located in the heart of Dallas, and has a rich history with plenty of alums willing to spend the money to bring in the right head coach. Names like Chad Morris and Jake Spatival, highly regarded offensive coordinators from Power 5 programs with Texas ties are at the top of every Mustang fan's coaching wish list, but would those two consider the head coaching job a possible step down?
A big reason for Jones's failure has to do with recruiting- of all 12 Texas FBS schools, SMU had the least amount of players from Texas on its roster, with 68. The next coach will have to fix this problem, and rebuild relations with Dallas-area schools.
SMU is at a crossroads - does it want to hire a young pony? Or an old, aging stallion who wants one last shot at glory?