Jones to try to shore up SMU?

The Baltimore Sun

June Jones spent last night trying to decide whether to accept an offer to coach Southern Methodist or return to Hawaii, where the governor is among those trying to keep him.

"It's been a wild day," agent Leigh Steinberg said. "I haven't seen anything like this before. It's emotionally wrenching for June."

Jones was in Dallas meeting with SMU officials and the search committee that has been working since late October to hire a replacement for Phil Bennett.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle called to see what she could do, and the president who oversees the entire University of Hawaii system called with an updated contract proposal. It's the second in three days, but the first made by the school's overall leader.

Steinberg said Jones was planning on making a decision last night.

"These programs need to know," he said.

As baffling as Jones' move might seem, it's not out of character for him. In the late 1990s, he left a 12-year run in the NFL to take over a Hawaii program coming off a winless season.

Jones led the 0-11 club he inherited to nine wins the next season, the largest turnaround in NCAA history. The Warriors became a perennial contender in the Western Athletic Conference. They went 12-0 this season before losing to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

SMU went 1-11 overall and 0-8 in Conference USA this season.

Central Florida -- Kevin Smith, the nation's leading rusher this season, changed his mind and will turn pro, the school confirmed. Smith seriously challenged Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 2,628 rushing yards in a season but finished 61 yards short.

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