As far as June Jones is concerned, he’s still a candidate for the University of Hawaii football head coaching vacancy.
Jones was offered the job on Friday but rejected the terms of UH’s deal, which was initially a two-year contract that also had control of the selection of his coaching staff.
All the latest sports news from Hawaii’s sports station
“I’d still like the job, but I was not really offered a job that is conducive to winning,” Jones said prior to the Polynesian Bowl celebration dinner at the Sheraton Waikiki on Friday night. “How are you gonna recruit when you got a two-year contract? I told (University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin), ‘Five-year contract, you can fire me anytime, no penalty.’ But I said, ‘How are you gonna recruit? Because (potential recruits) are gonna want to know who their coach is in four or five years. I’ve never taken a job that has dictated who I can hire and who I can’t hire, and I don’t think any coach in their right mind would accept a job like that so yeah, they offered, but unacceptable.”
Jones maintains that the money offered in the contract was not an issue. Rather, he believes the terms of the contract UH offered would not allow the program to grow with him at the helm.
“I haven’t changed,” Jones said. “It’s not about money, it’s not about anything else but trying to help the local kids and the people of Hawaii, all my teammates and the support has been unbelievable everywhere I go so hopefully they reconsider.
“The terms that I basically said, it’s not like I don’t know how to turn around a program, it’s nothing revolutionary or different from what was here before, but I just never had a guy say that I gotta hire this guy, can’t hire that guy. Nobody’s gonna take that job.”
Jones’ goal remains to turn a moribund Hawaii football program around that has a makeshift stadium on campus with a roster that returns little of its 2021 production in 2022. Jones also mentioned on Friday that he believes he can play a role in a new Aloha Stadium being built within an handful of years.
“I need to be a part of that to get that stadium built,” said Jones, who turns 69 in February.
Hawaii went 0-12 in 1998. After hiring Jones, the ‘Bows went 9-4 in 1999. Jones went on to go 76-41 over eight seasons and remains the program’s all-time winningest coach.
For now, it appears Jones will continue to coach Team Mauka in the 2022 Polynesian Bowl, which kicks off at Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Polynesian Bowl obligations aside, Jones still has a desire to coach the Rainbow Warriors in 2022 and beyond. He just hopes he gets a fair chance.
“We can still win and build what we’re doing going to that point so I’m disappointed and the conversation didn’t go real well today but who knows, there may be another one,” he said.