SMU Head Coach June Jones Resigns

June Jones, head coach for Southern Methodist University, announced his resignation just two games into the 2014 season. Jones stepped down on Monday, effective immediately, and cites personal reasons for his decision.

June’s announcement was sudden, and the coach released a statement explaining his unexpected departure from the Mustangs. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make. This job has a lot of demands and along with that journey comes a price that is paid,” Jones said. “I have some personal issues I have been dealing with, and I need to take a step away so I can address them at this time.”

While remaining vague about what exactly his personal issues are that have caused him to step down, Jones’ agent Leigh Steinberg tweeted on Monday and elaborated slightly on the reasoning. “June had felt for some time he had accomplished mission to turn around program and needed a break,” Steinberg stated.

Jones has been the subject of criticism as of late, due mostly to major losses to North Texas and Baylor, with many angered fans calling for June to step down. SMU, however, has made it clear that the coach, who has six seasons with the team under his belt and started in 2008, was not forced out, contrary to beliefs. Southern Methodist Athletic Director Rick Hart made a statement on behalf of the school, saying, “June’s decision to resign was his own. This isn’t by him a reaction or an overreaction to an outcome; it was something he had been contemplating and dealing with for an extended period of time.”

June Jones’ career started at the University of Hawaii with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, and is most notable for taking that team to the Sugar Bowl in 2007.

Despite the recent criticism that many speculate ultimately played a role in leading June to his resignation, the coach has also received praise from former players, including current Denver Bronco Emmanuel Sanders, who tweeted his respect and gratitude for Jones. “What did with the SMU program is a miracle. We were beyond lousy when he arrived & he turned us into champions”, Sanders tweeted. The player was also quick to defend June and shut down the recent criticism. “Hate to see him leave this way. The ppl calling for his head seem to forget where the program was just 5 years ago.” One final tweet from Sanders in regards to Jones’ decision saw the wide receiver thanking his former coach for the work he did at SMU. “Thank you ! One of the greatest offensive minds in football history. I’m forever grateful!”

While a permanent replacement for Jones has yet to be announced, or presumably even decided at this point, it was announced that June will be replaced for the rest of the season by the Mustangs’ Defensive Coordinator Tom Mason. It has yet to be announced what June’s plans are for the future now that his career with SMU, who also hired Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown for their basketball team in 2013, has come to an end.

Jones, 61, was born in Portland, OR and studied at the University of Oregon. Jones also studied for a time at the University of Hawaii, and played as a quarterback for various teams in the 1970s and 80s.