Rest easy, SMU fans; June Jones won't be taking his talents to the ACC.
According to Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News, Jones' agent Leigh Steinberg said the Mustangs' head coach has taken himself out of consideration for another head coaching position.
Though Steinberg wouldn't name the schools, both Hairopoulos and Comcast Sports Net have reported that the school in question was the University of Maryland and, per Hairopoulos, the Terrapins were offering $3.5 million annually, a sizeable increase over Jones' current $2 million salary.
But rather than open further dialogue with Maryland, Jones called SMU athletic director Steve Orsini and present R. Gerald Turner Tuesday morning and let them know that he wants to remain at SMU, where he has four years remaining on his current contract.
Though this may appear to be an unconventional move in the ilk of Jones turning down the San Diego Chargers to join the University of Hawaii in 1998, a closer look reveals that Jones may be making the prudent choice to remain in Dallas rather than move East.
With the Mustangs having earned back-to-back bowl berths for the first time since the pre-Death Penalty era, Jones has SMU trending toward the BCS-busting teams he coached in Hawaii. That effort will be bolstered by a recruiting class that is easily the best in Jones' brief tenure, highlighted by stellar work from offensive line coach and ace recruiter Adrian Klemm to pull talent in from California to complement what the Mustangs pull from the fertile Texas talent crop.
Then there's the Dallas-Fort Worth media market, ranked fifth in the country. Although the Cowboys will always come first in the Metroplex, Jones only has TCU to compete with for attention collegiately and the area is certainly big enough for both of them.
Maryland, meanwhile, has been treading water in the ACC for the past decade, reaching the Orange Bowl in 2001 but not coming close to similar heights since. Location-wise, Maryland is far from talent rich, only producing a handful of blue chip prospects each year. And while SMU has a checkered past, it still has tradition; the Terrapins, meanwhile, are among the least renowned programs in the ACC.
If Jones wants to get back to BCS contention, perhaps he feels that having zero margin of error while navigating the weaker waters of Conference USA with greater resources is a safer path than being afforded more of a cushion in the ACC, but with fewer resources at a lower-end program.
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