MANOA (KHNL) -- Hours after Warrior head coach June Jones announced his decision to leave the University of Hawaii at Manoa for Southern Methodist University, UH President David McClain, UH Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statements:
"Like all of Hawaii, I'm greatly disappointed that Coach Jones has decided to take this new opportunity at SMU. June has done so much for our university and our community, and we wish him every success," said McClain.
"We gave it our best shot, and it has been very much a team effort. I want to thank in particular, the fans for their outpouring of love and affection for the Coach. I can tell you, he was greatly moved.
I'm most grateful to Governor Lingle for her involvement at a critical point, and to Chancellor Hinshaw for her leadership in these negotiations. I'm grateful to those football supporters and those legislators, particularly Representative Takai, who declared their support for a major initiative to upgrade UH Mnoa's athletic facilities. We'll need that support as we recruit a new coach. I'm pleased to announce that some donors have already been contacting me to see how they can help.
My thanks also, of course, to the players who produced such a remarkable season, a wonderful exclamation point to our centennial year. We look forward to supporting them during this time of transition, and to building on their success.
Finally, I also want to apologize to our fans and all of Hawai'i for matters getting to this stage in the first place. Exceptional performance deserves exceptional recognition, and your University was slow to step up.
That won't happen again. My focus as your president is to keep the drama on the athletic field and in the stadium, where it belongs, and not at the ticket window, or in contract negotiations."
UH Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw issued this statement:
"All of us definitely wanted Coach June Jones to continue at UH Manoa. He has accomplished so very much here in Hawai'i, and his 9-year UH coaching record shows that he is truly a transformational leader," said Hinshaw.
During negotiations with Coach Jones and his agent, the University was able to offer a financially competitive package. In addition, UH gave assurances that non-financial matters of concern would be promptly addressed. In the end, however, Coach Jones informed us that his decision to accept the SMU position was based on his desire to undertake a new challenge and a new beginning at this point in his life.
So, even though this was not the outcome any of us wanted, we do wish him well in gratitude for all he has contributed to our lives here in Hawai'i and beyond - mahalo nui loa to Coach Jones for nine years of dedication as a coach and as a former UH player and student. It is now our responsibility to build on Coach Jones' success that we all have enjoyed on this great ride, particularly this year.
A search for a new head football coach will begin immediately."
Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement: