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After six seasons at the helm of the SMU football program, June Jones has proven again that he is master architect in building and rebuilding football programs. After SMU won just two games in two seasons, Jones' Mustangs have won 35 games and three bowl championships over the past five years, reestablishing championship football on the Hilltop. In addition, Jones has sent 22 players to NFL rosters from SMU in just six seasons, pushing his total over 70 since returning to college football in 1999.
In 2008, Jones took over an SMU program that had not been to a bowl game in nearly a quarter of a century. SMU had struggled since the 1980's and the days of the "Pony Express." Jones changed everything on the Hilltop in 2009, snapping a 25-year bowl drought, claiming a Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Championship, and earning a share of the Conference USA Western Division Championship. SMU finished the season with an 8-5 mark, marking the largest turnaround in the nation in 2009 (+7 wins), and one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history. As winner of three National Coach of the Year Awards in his career, Jones was named Conference USA Coach of the Year by The Sporting News in 2009, marking the fourth conference coach of the year award for Jones in his 15 seasons as a college head coach. Following SMU's 45-10 destruction of Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl, Jones was also named Coach of the Bowl Season by College Football News.
The 2010 season featured another first, as SMU made its first appearance in the Conference USA Championship game, earning its second straight C-USA Western Division title. SMU also earned a bowl bid for the second-straight season, reaching the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl before eventually falling to Army.
The 2011 season produced another eight wins and a BBVA Compass Bowl Championship as SMU thrashed Pitt, 28-6. Along the way, SMU beat rival TCU, giving the Mustangs and Jones the coveted Iron Skillet.
The 2012 campaign concluded with another Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Championship, giving SMU three bowl crowns in four years, winning again as a huge underdog against Fresno State.
In 2013, SMU lost the last two games when starting QB Garrett Gilbert got hurt, stopping SMU's bowl streak at four.
Since coming to the Hilltop, Jones' "Run and Shoot" offense has rewritten the SMU record book. In his six years on the Hilltop, his teams have set 13 of the 14 school's all-time offensive team records. His SMU QBs have also performed at the highest level. Garrett Gilbert set five single-game passing records (total offense (635), plays (81), TDs responsible for (7), completions (45), pass attempts (70)), and Kyle Padron still holds one for passing TDs in a season with 35. Zach Line became the second leading rusher in the history of the Mustangs behind only Eric Dickerson, both for a season, with 1,494 yards, and career, with 4,185 yards.
Jones came to the Hilltop after nine seasons at the University of Hawaii, where he took a downtrodden Warrior football program in 1999 and built it into one of the most exciting and competitive squads in the country. Jones led his Hawaii teams to 76 wins, the most by any Hawaii coach in school history, two Western Athletic Conference Championships and six bowls in nine years. Prior to Jones' arrival, in 1998, Hawaii suffered its first ever winless season. From there, he developed six All-Americans and produced 17 NFL draft picks, as he proceeded to win his 76 games and put a school record five players into the NFL in 2007.
Jones' 1999 turnaround of the Hawaii program is still the biggest turn around in the history of college football. In 2013, Auburn tied that record in its quest for a National Championship. In 1999, Hawaii went from 0-12 in 1998, to nine wins in 1999. In so doing, Hawaii won the Oahu Bowl versus Oregon State as a 17-point underdog.
In 1999, Jones was named National Coach of the Year (CNN/Sports Illustrated, American Football Coach/Shutt Sports and Sporting News) after leading the Warriors to a share of the WAC Conference and a 23-17 win over Oregon State in the Jeep Oahu Bowl. It was the program's first bowl game since 1992. The 1999 season also marked the first of three conference coach of the year awards for Jones at UH (1999, 2006, 2007).
In the five years before Jones' arrival in Hawaii, the Warriors combined for 12 wins and not a single draft pick or bowl game berth. June catapulted the Warrior program into national rankings in his nine seasons, with Hawaii ranking in the top 40 in seven of his nine years, including a top 10 ranking in 2007.
For his efforts, Jones was ranked as the top non-BCS coach in the nation by the Sporting News in 2008. The 2007 season proved to be the pinnacle of success for Jones at Hawaii, as he led his team to the national spotlight with a top-10 national ranking, a BCS Bowl berth and the school's first Heisman Trophy finalist.
Hawaii finished the 2007 regular season undefeated at 12-0 and was the only team in the Football Subdivision to earn that distinction. Along the way, the team shattered dozens of NCAA, conference and school records as Jones became just the third coach to lead a team to a BCS Bowl from a conference without an automatic BCS berth. For his efforts, Jones was named the 2007 WAC Coach of the Year and was one of seven finalists for the 2007 Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.
In 2006 and 2007, Jones was one of the masterminds of one of the nation's most prolific offenses and was one of just 14 head coaches in the nation to also serve as offensive coordinator. Jones' run and shoot attack led the Western Athletic Conference and his teams were ranked in the top five nationally in each of his nine seasons at Hawaii. In 2006, the Warriors averaged 46.9 points per game and 559.2 yards of total offense per game, with 44.29 generated through the air, leading the nation in all three categories. Hawaii was potent in 2007 as well, leading the nation in scoring at 46.2 per game. Under Jones, the Warriors broke more than 400 school records and 50 all-time NCAA records.
While in Hawaii, Jones-tutored quarterbacks have secured their place among the all-time greats in collegiate history, with Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan holding several NCAA records. In 2004, Chang made NCAA history by becoming the all-time passing leader with 17,072 yards, and, in 2007, Colt Brennan, who finished third in the Heisman voting, broke 29 NCAA records, including passing touchdowns in a season (58) and career (131).
Before his coaching career, Jones also played quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons for five years from 1977-1981. He also had a one year stop in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts in 1982. Jones signed with the Falcons as a free agent out of Portland State after earning All-America honors with the Vikings, where he led the nation in passing and total offense. At Atlanta in 1978, Jones became only the second free agent player at QB to be named the starter for an NFL season, with the other one being the Seattle Seahawks' David Kreig.
He enjoyed a 13-year coaching career in the NFL, spending time as an assistant with the Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and his Atlanta Falcons. He coached NFL Hall of Fame QBs in Warren Moon (1987, 1988) and Jim Kelly (1984 Houston Gamblers (USFL)), with both QBs recognizing Jones in their induction speeches. During his NFL stops, he also coached three other QBs to their only Pro Bowl appearances, Chris Miller (1991), Bobby Hebert (1993) and Jeff George (1995).
In 1994, Jones was named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Despite taking over the worst team in the NFL and having no first- or second-round draft picks in his first two years, Jones had the Falcons in the playoffs in the his second year as head coach. In so doing, that 1995 Falcon team still is the only team in the history of the NFL to have five players go over 1,000 yards on the same team. He had a 4,000-yard QB in Jeff George, three wide receivers who went over 1,000 yards (Eric Metcalf, Bert Emanuel and Terrance Mathis), and Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, who rushed for over 1,000 yards. That team record still stands. Jones also served as head coach for the last 12 games of the 1998 season for the San Diego Chargers.
Jones is also involved in many charities. His June Jones Foundation has given thousands of dollars to various charities both in Hawaii and the Dallas area. The JJF has continued his medical mission to Pago Pago, American Samoa, where over the last seven years where they have been able to provide over $4 million in medical supplies, football equipment and academic scholarships to the people of Pago Pago. Jones has also made a commitment to the inner city children of Dallas via an arm of the JJF - Urban You Turn: Envision 2020. This project is creating a mentoring program and student leadership program for disadvantaged children in the Dallas Independent School District.