HONOLULU (KHON2) — The search for the University of Hawaii’s (UH) new football coach turned into a public spectacle with June Jones on one side and UH on the other.
According to the former University of Hawaii Regent Jeff Portnoy, the situation is a “Shakespearean tragedy that continues to badly hurt the future opportunities for University of Hawaii football.”
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“For these two parties to engage in a public spat, which is spread out over the country is just quite unfortunate. That never should have occurred,” continued Portnoy.
The situation escalated on Friday, Jan. 21, after Jones expressed disappointment over a two-year contract offered to him shortly after a meeting with UH Athletic Director David Matlin.
However, on Saturday, Jan. 22, UH shared their side of the story. They said the limited contract was offered out of concerns regarding Jones’ character, work history and priorities. UH said Jones’ media interviews following Friday’s meeting only proved their point.
“It’s about integrity,” explained UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl. “And Jones showed zero integrity for this process. You know who did? The other candidates who did not grant media interviews.”
Ben Ayson, a die-hard UH fan, said the situation is creating a negative atmosphere that’s dividing the community.
Portnoy said he thought it would be quite some time before the UH program would be able to recover from the past four weeks and after Todd Graham resigned as the head football coach.
Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg, said the former coach did not run to the media first, and he was only responding to what was reported about his meeting with Matlin.
“(Jones) got into the car to drive home. And as he was driving home, he heard on the radio that he had rejected the job. The job — not the conditions but the job,” explained Steinberg.
Ayson hopes everyone can get back to focusing on what matters most.
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“I feel like as fans, we’ve lost sight of the fact that here we are calling for people’s heads, but it’s the student-athletes that ultimately are the ones that we should be supporting,” Ayson added. “And not carrying all this drama that’s going on all around them.”