FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — SMU coach June Jones has no plans to leave for Maryland.
Jones said Wednesday that he spoke by phone this week with a search firm, but had no discussions with school officials from Maryland. He has removed his name from consideration to replace fired coach Ralph Friedgen.
“I’m committed to being here,” said Jones, who will wrap up his third season at SMU when the Mustangs play Thursday in the Armed Forces Bowl against Army. “To be quite honest, I haven’t done what I came here to do.”
SMU (7-6) is going for its second consecutive eight-win season after a 25-year bowl drought. The Mustangs, who lost to UCF in the Conference USA championship game, are 15-11 since going 1-11 in Jones’ first season after he left Hawaii following an undefeated regular season and BCS appearance.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum said Jones told the team Tuesday about being contacted by Maryland representatives and his commitment to stay at SMU.
“He ain’t going to lie to us,” Beachum said. “Since he’s been here, exactly what he tells us, that’s exactly what comes into fruition. … We believe what he tells us.”
SMU, the only team ever to receive the NCAA’s so-called death penalty, had won only 30 games combined in the 10 seasons before Jones became the coach.
“The reason that we’re competitive already in the second and third year is because of the things that I believe in,” Jones said. “One of those things is putting the other guy first, making sacrifices, and playing together and being honest and truthful.”
Jones makes at least $2 million annually at SMU, and before this season signed a contract extension through the 2014 season. The Dallas Morning News, citing unidentified sources close to the SMU program, said Maryland was willing to pay Jones as much as $3.5 million including incentives.
“So for me, even if I was a money guy, which I’m not … to go somewhere just for the money, you compromise your integrity,” Jones said Wednesday. “You compromise everything you’ve ever told any player that’s played for you. And so for me, I just can’t do that.”
Maryland announced last week that Friedgen, the ACC coach of the year, was being fired effective after the Terps’ bowl game against East Carolina on Wednesday.
Jones said he had also had indirect contact this year with another school, but did not say who that was.
“It won’t be the last time it happens,” Jones said. “As a coach, you owe it to yourself to investigate and at least talk about it.”
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)