The reaction was quick, widespread, and intense when word
broke Wednesday morning that the Arizona State Sun Devils
had hired their new head football coach.
It would be June Jones, a former NFL quarterback and head
coach who built the Hawaii program into one of the
nation’s most exciting teams before moving on to SMU.
On social media, ASU fans railed the selection with a
passionate, negative response.
In the next couple of hours, over 100 fans voiced their
opinion on the imminent hiring on Arizona Sports 620’s
Judging from the level of vitriol in said posts, you would
think ASU was on the verge of hiring Jerry Sandusky.
Hours after that, word again trickled out that ASU had
broken off talks with Jones, and university chief
operating officer Steve Patterson told a Texas television
station that June Jones would not be the coach at Arizona
Several factors in this decision have been cited,
including fan and booster backlash and “background issues”
with the candidate.
ASU fans flooded social media, breathing digital sighs of
relief that Jones wasn’t going to guide their beloved
football program. Some
went as far to call it a great day for Sun Devils, because
the vocal opposition to the hiring had been heard.
No, this is the opposite of a victory.
Was I excited about the June Jones hire? I’d be lying if
I answered ‘yes’ to that question. I found the choice to
be underwhelming despite Jones’ success at Hawaii, that
peaked with an undefeated regular season and a trip to the
Sugar Bowl in 2007. I just felt like Jones was not
different enough from Dennis Erickson, the man ASU fired
just 10 days ago. I didn’t feel like Jones was a
“splashy” enough hire to instill optimism for a bright
But I’m also the type of person that will temper my
disappointment with a feeling of hoping that I’m wrong.
Apparently, I’m a rarity.
ASU fans allegedly flooded phone lines, threatened to
cancel tickets and attacked Jones personally via Twitter
and Facebook. There were reports of boosters threatening
to close their checkbooks if Jones was indeed hired.
What an embarrassment for Arizona State University.
How do you offer a job to a man, only to pull it back,
citing “background issues”? Isn’t checking a candidate’s
background one of the first things you do when hiring for
If your boosters are that important in the process,
don’t you think you would have run your choice by them
before anything got out publicly and hurt both the
reputations of the institute and your candidate?
And the fans, where do I start? Why can’t you show the
same passion for the ASU football program on Saturdays
between September and November as you do on random
Wednesday mornings in December?
I hate calling out ASU fans, because I’m one of them.
I’ve bled maroon and gold since Mark Malone was throwing
touchdown passes to John Mistler. But we
should all be embarrassed this morning.
June Jones is an accomplished football coach, and from
what I’ve read about him, a good man. He did not deserve
the treatment he received from the ASU administration or
the Sun Devil fan base on Wednesday.
Now, back to square one.