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June Jones resigns as SMU football coach amid 'personal issues'

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The school announces defensive coordinator Tom Mason will take over as interim head coach for the rest of 2014.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

June Jones has resigned as the coach of SMU after an 0-2 start to the 2014 season in which his team was outscored by a combined score of 88-6. The news comes from Jones' agent, who says that Jones "needed a break" after he had met his goal of turning the program around.

Jones made the Mustangs respectable, but could never get them over the eight-win hump. However, Jones did bring the program to its first four bowl games since 1984, and they won either seven or eight games in a four-year stretch from 2009 to 2012. The Mustangs regressed in 2013 with a five-win season and were off to an awful start this year amid a move from Conference USA to the American, with a 45-0 loss to Baylor and an even more embarrassing 43-6 loss to North Texas.

"Schools like TCU made the decision 15 years ago they were going to enter into the arena of play they're in now, that's why they're in the Big 12," Jones said to Steven Godfrey at this year's AAC Media Day. "SMU made that decision five, six, seven years ago, and we're starting to be competitive on the top kids, but we really have to find kids that get overlooked, and we've done that."

After coaching with the NFL's Oilers, Lions, Falcons, and Chargers, the run-and-shoot innovator had a lot of success at Hawaii — a program that is very difficult to win at — leading the Warriors to the Sugar Bowl in his final year before leaving for SMU. However, some criticized him for his failure to adapt in Texas, where so many programs were already successful and so many others were improving. To that end, Jones was not going to change how he operated.

"I've always had what I do," he said. "You really have to go with what got you there. It all goes in circles. I won't ever change the way I play but you see the game going in circles."

Six years and two games later, Jones leaves SMU with a 36-43 record and flashes of lifting the program a little bit above mediocrity. Whether that's a success at SMU is debatable, but now Jones gets his rest.

SMU's next game is on Sept. 20 against No. 7 Texas A&M.

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Jones, in a statement via SMU:

This afternoon, I talked to my staff and players and notified them that I have decided to resign as SMU head football coach effective immediately. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, as you can imagine. I have devoted my life for the last 50 years to playing and coaching this game and it has been a great journey. This job has a lot of demands, as you know, and along with that journey comes a price that is paid. I have some personal issues I have been dealing with and I need to take a step away so I can address them at this time.

We have some talented and really good kids, who just happen to be young. Tom Mason will take over the head coaching duties. Tom has done a great job with the defense since coming to SMU. This being a bye week will give all the coaches and players a chance to evaluate themselves and make the changes needed for their preparation in getting ready for the next couple games and conference play the rest of the way. I would like to thank all the people here at SMU that have supported the vision we have had here. I feel we have made SMU relevant again in football by going to four bowls in my six years as a Mustang. I am very thankful for the opportunity I was given and wish only the best for the players, coaches and administration at SMU.