Jones to pass along $114,000 in pledges to assistants

Updated: December 12, 2007, 10:44 AM ET
Associated Press

HONOLULU -- Hawaii Warriors coach June Jones says he will pass along to his assistants the more than $100,000 pledged to him by local donors.

A group of business leaders and football supporters has raised at least $114,000 to support and thank Jones for the Warriors' unprecedented undefeated season and invitation to the Sugar Bowl.

Jones told The Honolulu Advertiser he will give the entire amount to his nine assistant coaches and to improve the athletic department's deteriorating facilities.

"I want the money to go where it's needed," he said.

Defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said Jones' gesture says a lot.

Jones, 55, the winningest coach in school history, is in the final season of a five-year, $4 million contract. Half of his $800,000 annual salary is paid by donors.

He is the third highest-paid coach in the WAC, behind Fresno State's Pat Hill and Boise State's Chris Petersen. That could change soon.

"Everybody talks about the great job the South Florida coach did in building a program," Reinebold said. "But June resurrected a program. If the program was a patient in the hospital, they would call the priest to give the last rites. He took it off life support. He breathed life into it, and gave it an identity."

In 1999, Jones directed the Warriors to the biggest one-year turnaround in NCAA history. Hawaii started the season with an 18-game losing streak -- 0-12 in '98 -- and went 9-4 with a bowl win over Oregon State.

This season, No. 10 Hawaii clinched its first outright Western Athletic Conference title and earned a BCS berth to face No. 4 Georgia (10-2) after finishing the regular season as the nation's only unbeaten team at 12-0.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press