Jones mysterious on move from paradise to Hilltop

December, 24, 2009
12/24/09
10:11
AM CT
SMU coach June Jones suprised a lot of people when he left Hawaii after nine seasons to take on the eternal rebuilding project that is Mustangs football.

Before leaving town for the Hawaii Bowl, which pits SMU in its first bowl appearance in 25 years against Nevada at 7 p.m. today on ESPN, Jones still didn't fully explain what motivated him to leave paradise for the Hilltop.

"It's deeper than what I've shared," Jones said. "There will come a time when I will. I'm thankful that I'm here. The kids have been fun to be around. I think over the next 2 years, this is going to be really neat."

Jones guided undefeated Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl in 2007 and then decided, for whatever unknown reasons, that it was time to go.

"He’ll probably write a book about it or something, knowing coach Jones," senior wide receiver Emmanual Sanders said.

Jones went 1-11 after his first season, then completed the biggest turnaround in college football this season, guiding SMU to a 7-5 record and a long-awaited bowl berth. He agreed to a two-year extension and is locked up through the 2014 season.

Between bowl preparations and recruiting, Jones said he hasn't had time to reflect on the season's success.

"No, I haven’t and probably won’t," Jones said. "I think when we get the recruiting class signed up in February, we’ll come up for air and realize that when we have those 24, 25 players that we’re all of a sudden a whole lot better athletically than we’ve been to add to this young group here."

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