BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – June Jones says he’s very happy being SMU’s coach, even though he was set to leave for Arizona State and has been contacted by multiple schools about vacant head coaching jobs.
“It was something that happened very fast. One of the prices of winning is you get contacted a lot of times for different opportunities,” Jones said Thursday. “I had an opportunity that appealed, so I listened. I’m very happy at SMU.”
Jones was part of an appearance for the BBVA Compass Bowl a day after his agent, Leigh Steinberg, believed there was an agreement in place for Jones to become Arizona State’s coach.
Asked if there was an agreement with Arizona State, Jones said Steinberg dealt with all the details.
“I was kind of not privy to all that, whether it was going to happen or not. I never got the call that it was going to happen,” Jones said. “So I wish Arizona State well, and we’re going to do well.”
But Steinberg lashed out on Twitter on Wednesday after he felt a deal fell through at the last second.
“Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation,” Steinberg said on his Twitter feed, (at)SteinbergSports. “Everything was set,few tweaks left,and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation.”
Jones said he has had let SMU officials, players and recruits know what was happening.
“I can’t tell you how great they’ve been through all this. They understand completely that this is a business,” Jones said. “Everybody was aware. I was open and honest with them about everything.”
The Mustangs (7-5) are preparing for their third consecutive bowl, when Jones can get his 100th career victory. They play Pittsburgh (6-6) on Jan. 7 in Birmingham, Ala.
Arizona State has been searching for a coach since Dennis Erickson was fired Nov. 28 after five seasons of failing to live up to expectations in the desert. 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.
The Sun Devils reportedly were in talks with Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, which broke down after Texas A&M fired coach Mike Sherman.
Arizona State then turned to Jones, who successfully rebuilt programs at SMU and Hawaii.
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