When SMU hired June Jones to be their head football coach before the 2008 season, they really thought it would instantly turn their program around, prompting a huge marketing blitz and the now-infamous billboards (honestly, I never thought I'd hear quite so much about one guy coming again after the whole Monica Lewinsky thing ten years prior). So far, the jury is still out in regards to why the hire has yet to create the intended splash: was the kid doing the cannonball not fat enough, or was there just no water in the pool to begin with?
We'll get back to Jones' time at SMU in a bit, but first let's look at his past. June Jones was born a poor black child...damn it, wikipedia! But seriously, Coach Jones' oddly-feminine first name is apparently a family thing, as he was born June Shelton Jones III in Portland, Oregon in 1953. He went on to play quarterback at Oregon, Hawaii and Portland State before playing for the Falcons for 5 years and then one year in the CFL. He then began a rather nomadic coaching career, starting as the QB coach at Hawaii in 1983 before moving to the professional ranks, where he held jobs with various teams in the USFL, CFL and NFL, including head coaching stints with the Falcons and Chargers. During that time, he never stayed in one place for more than three years.
In 1999, Jones returned to the collegiate ranks to become head coach at (one of) his (three) alma mater(s). The Warriors had lost 18 straight games prior to his arrival, including 0-12 in 1998, but in '99 Jones led them to a 9-4 record and the third bowl game in school history. It was that instant success, along with the Sugar Bowl berth in 2007, that must've convinced SMU that he was their guy.
His time at Hawaii wasn't without controversy, though. First, there was the rumor that he impregnated a volleyball player. OK, so that one may be a little unfair, given that there's never been any confirmation, to date. But there was his sour-grapes moment of calling Tim Tebow a "system quarterback" after the 2007 Heisman ceremony, mocking the criticism that had been lobbed at his own quarterbacks for years- including Colt Brennan, who was a finalist for the award that year. As a head coach, shouldn't you just congratulate the guy who won? Then there was the notorious line in which Jones quipped that "Some of my best players I've recruited out of jail." That comment had to have raised a few red flags with the SMU administration, right? But then again, fielding a team of criminals has worked for Jerry Jones (or at least used to), so maybe they'd be ok with him taking that approach.
Nevertheless, SMU saw Jones as their express ticket to the top and rounded up $10 million from wealthy alumni (because the athletic department itself, with their paltry ticket sales, could never afford that) to lure the coach from Hawaii with a 5-year contract that pays him $2 million a year. Fifteen games into said contract, that means that Jones has collected $2.5 million in salary so far from SMU. When you consider the 3-12 record he's posted in that time, it means that they are spending about $830,000 per win (or $2.5 million per win over FBS schools). Now I'm not part of the financial industry, but even to an outsider like myself that doesn't seem like a healthy return on investment. And unfortunately for SMU, the results in college football are very public, so you can't just lie about how things are going to drive up the price of your company's stock. But it's not like anyone associated with SMU would ever do something like that, right?
In all fairness, I do believe that June Jones is a good coach and do still think he's got a chance to turn the Mustangs into a winner. It's just been pretty humorous to see that their solution to their problem was just to throw a shitload of money at it and assume that it'll be instantly fixed.