UH boosters kick in $100K to keep Jones
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By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Ferd Lewis
A group of prominent Hawai'i businessmen and University of Hawai'i supporters is well on the way to raising $100,000 to demonstrate support of football coach June Jones and encourage him to remain at the school.
The group has circulated an "Enhance the Pride of UH Football!" e-mail request to approximately 100 others seeking 50 donors to each contribute $2,000 toward "furthering the team and coaching staff's efforts."
The e-mail seeks commitments from donors "right away," and Walter Dods, retired First Hawaiian Bank chairman, said 40 were lined up in "less than 24 hours."
Dods, who is helping Grove Farm president Warren Haruki coordinate the effort, said, "this is the easiest fundraising job I've been a part of. Everybody knows the job June has done. It is how fast can you write the check."
The e-mail mentions the milestone accomplishments of this year's team — Heisman Trophy finalist, unbeaten season, Sugar Bowl berth — and notes, "what the football team's success has brought to light is the fact that all of this was done with a bare bones recruiting budget, outdated office furnishings and equipment and without the flexibility to reward assistant coaches and other key support staff with discretionary bonuses or incentives."
The campaign is separate of UH, which has yet to announce if athletics or football will share in the revenue from the Jan. 1 game in New Orleans. UH will receive at least $4.2 million from the bowl appearance, less expenses.
In a media conference call Sunday, Jones said he didn't know how much football might receive. "But, hopefully," he said, "that means we'll get some new carpet and some new stuff in my office so when we bring the recruits in that do come, we'll look like a first-class operation."
Also, there has not been an announcement on the status of a renewal of Jones' contract, which is scheduled to expire in six months.
The 55-year-old Jones is the school's winningest coach against college competition with a 76-40 record and is a candidate for at least two national coach of the year awards. Last week he was named Western Athletic Conference coach of the year for a second consecutive season after leading the Warriors to their first outright conference title.
The University of Georgia, UH's opponent in the Sugar Bowl, has a football budget of $16.7 million — compared with UH's $2.2 million.
Jones has an $800,016 base salary, half of which the school said is paid by donors. He has qualified for at least $80,000 in bonuses from the school this season. Georgia coach Mark Richt receives a base salary of $2 million per season.
Jones is currently the third highest-paid coach in the nine-school WAC, behind Pat Hill of Fresno State and Chris Petersen of Boise State.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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