As the search for a permanent replacement as University of Hawaii’s head football coach continues, KHON2 confirms one man is interested in the job.
Former Rainbow Warrior head coach June Jones told KHON2 Tuesday afternoon that he will apply for the job.
He did not, however, want to comment further until after the season is over.
The University of Hawaii fired former head coach Norm Chow after the Rainbow Warriors suffered an 58-7 loss to Air Force Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
It marked the sixth straight loss for the Rainbow Warriors, putting Chow’s record at 10-36 in his four seasons with the ‘Bows.
Jones, who took over the Rainbow Warriors in 1999 following an 0-12 season, led UH to two WAC Championships and seven bowl games over the next nine years.
He left UH following Hawaii’s Sugar Bowl loss in early 2008, spending the next seven years at Southern Methodist University before stepping down after two games of the 2014 season.
Jones is on a short list of possibilities, based on those who applied in 2011 or expressed interest, according to sources.
As KHON2 previously explained, with most viable options already employed, the acknowledgment of interest will not be made public in many cases.
Despite his success, Jones also has his detractors.
So what are some of the pitfalls of bringing him back, and what does UH’s athletics director have to say to supporters of the program?
For 60 minutes Tuesday night, the same length as a college football game, ESPN 1420’s Bobby Curran and UH athletics director Dave Matlin heard it all as Hawaii football fans offered their opinions on the next head coach.
“When you hear all these people out there, what do you hear first and foremost?” KHON2 asked.
“I hear that they care. I hear that they love UH athletics. I hear that they want a viable football program and not just a viable football program, but a viable athletics program but more importantly, a viable university.”
As is often the case, much of Tuesday night’s discussion focused around Jones.
Many say he was a savior before and he can be again.
But some expressed concern he was too old for the job, while others wondered why he left his job at SMU last year after just two games.
“I’m not sure about the pitfalls. Some people say he’s old, but every time I speak to him, he’s got a ton of energy, and he’s a proven commodity. The guy’s a turnaround expert,” said Curran.
“Is his SMU departure a concern? You heard some phone calls relating to that tonight?” KHON2 asked.
“When someone says a situation was personal, I’m a person who takes that at face value,” Curran replied. “I understand other people may not, but I’ve known to him pretty well. I feel pretty comfortable about who he is.”
Whoever the next head coach is, one of the program’s biggest boosters simply wants to restore the luster of what not too long ago was a great and proud program.
When asked what he wanted to see in the next coach, Don Murphy said, “I just think that the passion to coach and try to keep the kids here. It’s got to be somebody that knows and understands the islands and has a passion for this place and that’s the way it should be.”
Matlin said he will begin reaching out to candidates early next week with a target hiring date at mid-December.
He says he will not reveal any list of applicants as many are currently employed, though he expects to get more applicants than the university got when they replaced basketball coach Gib Arnold, which was more than 80.