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Former Hawaii coach June Jones rejects offer to return

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Hawaii vs Georgia

Jan. 1, 2008; New Orleans, LA, USA; Hawaii Warriors head coach June Jones on the sidelines against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 1st half of the Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


HONOLULU -- Former Hawaii football coach June Jones has declined a proposal to return to lead the program for a second time.

The school’s wins leader in Division I, Jones met with the athletic director David Matlin, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported, and rejected the offer when he learned it would only be for two years and Matlin would have to approve the assistant coaches.

Jones took to social media to voice his displeasure with the terms.

“I am still interested in this job for the people of Hawaii, but the job offered me today, there is no way I could accept with the conditions offered me,” the 68-year-old tweeted. “No coach in their right mind would accept!

“Dictating who can be on my staff and only 2 year contract . what recruit would come if I was here for 2 years?. This has never been about money - but it is about giving me the ability to turn our program around and not have people tell me who is on my staff or how to coach my team.”

Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg called the breakdown a “bump in the road” and hoped discussions would go on.

Jones’ rejection leaves former Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang and former center Brian Smith as possibilities to replace Toodd Graham, who resigned last Friday amid controversy after completing the second-year of a five-year contract. He stepped down a week after former players and some parents testified before a state legislative hearing, criticizing the coach’s management style and relationships with players. More than a dozen players entered the transfer portal.

Assistant Jacob Yoro is serving as interim head coach while the school searches for a replacement. The team has about 20 scholarship spots available with the signing period for recruits beginning on Feb. 2

The Rainbow Warriors were 6-7 overall this season, including 4-7 in the Mountain West after going 5-4 overall and 4-4 in the conference the year before.