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It could be aloha for Jones

The Baltimore Sun

The Hawaii football team's feel-good story is close to having a very unhappy ending - and I'm not talking about the 41-10 blowout loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. That was simply a matter of Cinderella Hawaii (12-1) slamming face-first into the reality of a vastly superior opponent.

Even more disappointing will be if the Warriors lose coach June Jones. His contract is running out; Jones' agent, Leigh Steinberg, said the university hadn't made a renewal offer yet, and at least one other major college program reportedly is working up a million-dollar offer.

The Warriors' football program is quite special. Jones has a roster filled with island kids. It is as close to a family atmosphere as a college football program can be. And it has been a place where young men, including a few from the mainland, have reclaimed their lives.

Jones has been sort of a Father Flanagan with a whistle, clipboard and a flowered shirt. Along the way, the coach with the wild run-and-shoot offense has made Hawaii football an enormous source of pride in the island state. It would be a shame if all that were to leave with him.

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