Jones Says His Last Aloha to Hawaii

BIG ISLAND (KHNL) -- It was a tough move, but former Warrior football coach June Jones feels it was in the best interest for everyone involved.

"Change is very hard to do, but i think this is the opportunity for the school to take a step and go in the right direction," he said Sunday, in his first news conference in the islands since signing with Southern Methodist University, to be their head football coach.

He's got a new hat on his head, but Jones' heart is still in Hawaii.

And that's why he wanted to give his final press conference here at Hokulia on the Big Island.

"Because this has been my place to come and not think about anything but Hawaii," he said.

Jones had to get away, after making one of the biggest decisions of his life. Leaving Hawaii -- a school he loved, a school he resurrected, a school he brought to college football's biggest stage.

"It's not just about me," he said. "It's about the lives of other people. and I just, tried to do what was right for everybody, including myself, even, right down to it, my coaches and their families and everybody else."

Going to SMU wasn't an easy choice, but Jones knows it was the right one.

"I know we accomplished a lot," he said. "Certainly would've like to see some things different, but you don't ever get it perfect anyway."

"The next guy will be in a better situation when I was when I came, and the next guy after him will be better after him, and better after him. That's what happens with change. usually the next guy gets all the things you needed or wanted."

Jones say there was nothing Hawaii could've done to keep him. The opportunity at SMU, he says, similar to when he came here.

Just too good to pass up -- a team, hungry to win, a community, badly wanting the same.

But with this new chapter in his life opening, means another one is closing.

"What am I gonna miss the most about Hawaii is my friends, the people and the spirit here," said Jones.

Many feel former athletics director Herman Frazier was to blame for Jones' departure.

"I really believe that Herman was right there with us helping me as much as he could," said Jones. "It's frustrating when those things happen. I hate that the timing of it was triggered by my departure, because in no way did I feel that Herman was anything but helpful to me."

Last week, UH paid Frazier more than $300,000 to leave his post

Jones says he is at peace with his decision to leave and his home will always be Hawaii.