Warriors draw inspiration from Jones' speeches
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
|||What: WAC football, Hawai'i (5-2, 4-1) at Fresno State (4-4, 2-1)
Kickoff: Friday at 3 p.m.
TV/Radio: Live on ESPN2/Live on 1420 AM
He spoke of courage, unity and fighting the good fight. Echoing the words he delivered to his troops before the invasion of Normandy in 1944, he implored, "The real hero is the man who fights even though he's scared."
The audience of University of Hawai'i football coaches and players was frozen with awe.
"I had chicken skin," UH linebacker Chris Brown said.
"You hear that and you get so pumped up," UH defensive end La'anui Correa said.
Linebacker Matt Wright scribbled down that speech, adding it to his collection of others by UH coach June Jones.
"Coach Jones has some good stories," Wright said of Jones' game-day motivational speeches. "You kind of look forward to what he's going to say each week."
Jones, a military history buff, said he uses the offseason to prepare an outline of speeches he will make during the season.
"I try to tie in a lot of different experiences that I've had," Jones said. "I try to relate it to history, basically. Usually, I tell a story in history, then relate it to something that's happened to me or what we're going through as a team."
While most of the stories involve military leaders, he sometimes will cite a sports figure, such as boxer Muhammad Ali. Jones' only rule is the speech must be inspirational and not based on revenge.
"The one thing I got from (former UH coach) Larry Price, I still remember, is he said, 'Revenge is a poor motivator,' " Jones recalled. "That stuck with me since I've played for him, and it is a poor motivator."
Correa said: "It's all positive stuff. It's not about going out there and beating someone up. It's all about giving us encouragement to play our hardest."
The Warriors spend the night before home games sequestered in a Waikiki hotel. After breakfast on game day, the team will gather in a meeting room, where Jones will speak. Offensive lineman Vince Manuwai said Jones' unexpected turn as Patton stirred the Warriors to a 37-14 victory over Tulsa last week.
"It meant a lot when he told us, 'the only way we can be stopped is within ourselves,' " Manuwai said. "It's true, for football. One guy can't do his own thing while the other 10 guys are doing something else."
Offensive lineman Wayne Hunter said that during the speech, Jones transformed into Patton, complete with the NC-17 dialogue absent from Jones' usual vocabulary.
"He swore, kind of like Coach Cav," Hunter said, referring to line coach Mike Cavanaugh.
Brown, a fifth-year senior, was a redshirt freshman in 1999, Jones' first year as UH's head coach.
"It seems every week he has the most perfect speech," Brown said. "You think that week is a perfect speech, and then he has a better one the next week. It's unreal.
"I don't know where he finds these things. He can sell anything. I've been hearing these stories for four years, and every one is always better than the last one."