SMU coach June Jones signs three-year contract extension

LM Otero/Associated Press
June Jones' Mustangs lost three of their final five games in 2013.

June Jones, who is 36-41 in six seasons at SMU, signed a three-year contract extension to stay with the Mustangs through the 2017 season, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced Monday.

"Coach Jones and his staff have successfully engineered our football program's journey from relative obscurity to competitive relevance," Hart said. "Under their direction, we have participated in a conference championship game a school-record four-consecutive bowl games. We look forward to partnering with Coach Jones as we now set our sights on the next phase of our rise to prominence: establishing SMU football as a championship program."

There had been rumors that Jones, 60, was headed back to Hawaii, but the Warriors didn't fire coach Norm Chow, as many had predicted.

The Mustangs' school-record bowl streak ended this season with a 5-7 finish.

"There is no place I'd rather be than here at SMU," Jones said. "I am proud of the progress we have made thus far, but many goals remain unfinished, including restoring SMU football's championship tradition."

Jones has had three winning seasons and one break-even season in his tenure, unbelievable work at a school that had had only one winning season (1997) before Jones' arrival since reinstating football in 1989. But there is a school of thought that the program has plateaued under Jones.

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As successful as he has been, SMU has been in Conference USA and -- this season -- the AAC, leagues not exactly filled with high-powered teams. In addition, recruiting during his tenure has not been as strong as analysts predicted, though SMU does have relatively rigorous academic requirements, especially when compared to its conference rivals. And Jones' flirtation with Arizona State after the 2011 season angered some Mustangs officials.

Next season's team will have to find a new quarterback, rebuild the back seven on defense and develop a new go-to receiver. But both lines should be strong, and as long as Jones remains coach, it's a given that the Mustangs will have at least a solid passing attack.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.