Q&A: SMU’s June Jones says he’ll coach 3 to 5 more years

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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SMU football coach June Jones, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington teamed up to support the Positive Coaching Alliance for North Texas in the “Coffee with the Coaches” at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

The program also included PCA founder and CEO Jim Thompson and Mavericks radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Cooperstein.

Since its founding in 1998, PCA has provided impact workshops for youth and high school coaches, parents and youth sports organization leaders and high school student-athletes.

Jones, 61, is starting his seventh season with the Mustangs.

Do you see yourself finishing your career with SMU?

“I don’t know how to answer that. I’m probably going to coach three to five more years somewhere. I get really attached to my kids, so it’s hard to move, it’s very difficult for me. Most of the kids come because you’re the coach. So they made the commitment, and I always talk about commitment. So it’s very hard to move.”

What are your thoughts on the new College Football Playoff, a four-team, seeded playoff?

“I see the [old] BCS probably going into four conferences, like they wanted originally. We’re at five [power conferences] now, but I think there’s still one more movement coming.”

Who were some of the influential figures in your youth sports experience?

“What influenced me the most was I went to college for four years after deciding to play football and I never played in a game. My last year, I transferred to Portland State and there was a coach there, Mouse Davis, that talked me into playing because I kind of decided to just get my degree in business and go work for my father. I finally called him and told him I’ll give it a try, and I noticed he was totally different than any other coach I had been around. He’d put his arm around you, joke with you, was serious when needed to be, but football became fun and that year changed me. I walked on with the Atlanta Falcons later that year and played for five years, but that was probably the one person that changed me.”

What are your thoughts on character building?

“Most of the coaches understand what it takes to win. We only get four hours a day for our kids in college football, but we spend one hour a week just on character. Everybody understands that it’s in our team concept. You don’t hear a lot of coaches talk about love, but we do and it does matter. Like Ron [Washington] said, you have that one game- changer, but it’s those other guys that are the important factors in a championship team. One of the most exciting things I’ve seen is in this year’s NBA Finals. Those [Spurs] bench guys were excited to see who won the MVP. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker — they were more excited on who was getting the MVP than if they had won it, and that’s the difference between winning and losing. That makes them separate from everyone else. It’s just like Rick [Carlisle] in 2011 [when the Mavericks won the NBA title] — those bench guys were more excited to see that player than winning it. That’s the most important thing.”

How did you get involved with PCA?

“They wanted to get started in North Texas, so I got a call from Jim [Thompson] and a friend of mine, Aaron Patton, to find a place to meet, and I spoke at their first meeting.”

Why did you want to join this type of atmosphere?

“It’s important because I learned what I felt the way to teach kids. There’s negative reinforcement, and I felt I could make it better. When I played for Mouse, he made football fun, and the locker room was one that I had never seen before. So I said if I was going to coach one day that I would do it that way.”

Do you share your youth stories with your players?

“I would share it with them occasionally. I would try to make most of my meetings about them and what they need to do, but I share a lot of personal things with them that I don’t with other people. It’s also a way to trust you more if you’re personal with them.”

Do you give your players examples of past players who had issues, such as Pino Tinoisamoa and Davone Bess at Hawaii?

“All the time. Just like Ron said, you have to make players accountable, and when guys screw up, I address it in front of the team. And everybody knows everybody, so if I make the rules, as a coach I have to be accountable for that and they have a price for that. You’re constantly addressing those issues with your team.”

Are you close with Rick or Ron and SMU basketball coach Larry Brown?

“I’m close with Larry. I’ve been around Rick three or four times. This is the first time I met Ron, and I liked some of the things he was saying because he just confirmed all the things I believe in.”

Do you talk to your players about the success that Larry, Rick and Ron have had?

“I do. I spoke to Larry’s team right after they missed out on the NCAA bid, so that was good. I went to each one of Larry’s games, and he’s successful like how Rick and Ron are successful, because they believe in those same things that you are what you repeatedly do.”

Brian Gossett, 817-390-7760

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