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Arizona State bails on Jones

Agent of former UH coach blasts Sun Devils officials after deal falls through

December 8, 2011
By JOHN MARSHALL , The Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. - Leigh Steinberg believed he had a deal for SMU's June Jones to become the next coach at Arizona State.

When the deal fell through at the last second, the super agent started lashing out on Twitter.

"Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation," Steinberg wrote. "Everything was set,few tweaks left,and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation."

Article Photos

June Jones, who left the University of Hawaii after the 2007 season, has produced his third straight bowl-eligible team at SMU this year.
AP file photo

Arizona State had no comment, but chief operating officer Steve Patterson told Houston TV station KRIV that Jones wouldn't be the Sun Devils' coach and that the process continues.

SMU president R. Gerald Turner told The Dallas Morning News that Jones, who left the University of Hawaii for SMU after the 2007 season, will remain as the Mustangs' coach for 2012.

Arizona State has been searching for a coach since Dennis Erickson was fired Nov. 28 after five seasons. The Sun Devils started this season 6-2 to become bowl-eligible for the first time in four years, but lost their final four regular-season games.

Erickson is slated to coach Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl against No. 8 Boise State in Las Vegas on Dec. 22.

The Sun Devils reportedly were in talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, but those talks broke down after Texas A&M fired coach Mike Sherman.

Arizona State then turned to Jones, who successfully rebuilt programs at SMU and Hawaii. The sides were reportedly close to a deal when negotiations abruptly came to an end, apparently after issues were raised about Jones' character - which infuriated Steinberg.

"June Jones character is impeccable and unimpeachable,has done charitable&community,active&spiritual Christian faith," Steinberg said on Twitter. "For any institution to try and scorch the earth by impugning man of honor is despicable-cowardly leaks."

Steinberg also became irritated by Arizona State fans being less than thrilled with Jones as the school's choice because he wasn't a flashy enough name.

"When USC hired Pete Carroll SC alums howled in anger," he said. "Retread" "Too Old""Not SC stature"-Talkshow,letters to editor raged for days.alums threatened cancelling season tickets, SC held firm.After multiple national championship campaigns hard to find those critics now."



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