Tag Archives: houston gamblers

Jones, June

Card: Topps 1978
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o SMU
Sent:  1/13  Recieved: 2/1  (26 days)

A member of the Mouse Davis coaching tree, June Jones is considered a quarterback guru and offensive innovator and his teams typically employ a spread offense or Run ‘N Shoot variant. After playing in 3 different offensive systems and 3 different colleges, June would be drafted by the Atlanta Falcons out of Portland State where he played from 1977 to 1981. He’d then briefly play in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts. Jones quickly moved into coaching, working under Jack Pardee and Mouse Davis as the wide receivers coach for the USFL Houston Gamblers, and then into the CFL coaching with the Ottawa Rough Riders. In 1987, June was hired by Jerry Glanville to coach Warren Moon as the quarterbacks coach in Houston and then with Detroit under offensive coordinator Mouse Davis. After this stint he would follow Glanville to Atlanta where he’d install the Run ‘N Shoot offense. Later he’d replace Glanville as head coach of the Falcons. June guided the team to the playoffs before a meltdown with quarterback Jeff  George that was infamously caught on tape. The rift caused both of them to get released. Jones then worked for Kevin Gilbride briefly on the Chargers staff, before returing to the college ranks as head coach for the University of Hawaii. He turned a winless team around to a 9-4 bowl bound team in what is considered to be the fastest turn around in NCAA football history. By 2006 he was the winningest coach in Hawaii history and finished his career there in 2007 at 76-41. In 2008 Jones decided to leave Hawaii to coach perennial doormat SMU turning that franchise around in two seasons and leading them to their first bowl game in many years. Posted below are his college coaching statistics.

Wins 85   Losses 57  Ties 0

McNeil, Gerald “Icecube”

Cards: Score Supplemental 1990
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1990
See Also: Gerald McNeil (2)

After setting a variety of receiving records at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Gerald McNeil went undrafted out of college because he checked in at a tiny 5″7′, 145. Undaunted Gerald was picked up by the NFL’s fledgling competition, the United States Football League, where he played for the Houston Gamblers in 1984-1985 as one of offensive coordinator Mouse Davis‘ Mouseketeers. In the run and shoot offense (with Jim Kelly as his quarterback) Gerald snagged 58 receptions for 1017 yards, a 17.6 average and 6 touchdowns. He’d be named to the USFL’s All Star Team as a punt returner by the Sporting News.

After the USFL disbanded, McNeil was drafted in the NFL’s supplemental draft by the Cleveland Browns. Electrifying fans with his speed, McNeil was nicknamed ‘Ice Cube’ due to his tiny stature and incredible elusiveness. In 1986, during his first season with the Browns, McNeil returned both a punt (84 yards) and a kickoff  (100 yards) for a touchdown. Gerald was primarily used as a return specialist during his career and earned a Pro Bowl nomination for his electrifying play in 1987.  After finishing first in punt returns with 49 in 1989, Gerald was signed via Free Agency by the Houston Oilers in 1990. They hoped that he would duplicate his performance in the USFL and spell one of the Fab Four when they needed a sub, plus Bud Adams always enjoyed taking swipes and divisional competition. Gerald continued to be the primary punt and kick returner and get some spot playing time in his final season, retiring as a Houston Oiler after the 1990 season.

I got Gerald’s autograph at training camp that season while he was on the Oilers.  Yes he was small- and a really nice guy.  He had not seen his Score 1990 Supplemental card before and asked me if I had an extra. (It was the first time a player had put me on the spot like that.) Flabbergasted I told him I’d send him one. Back in those days though without the internet, it was hard to track down singles. I was able to get the card, but he retired before I was able to get it to him.

Games 76     Ret   91      Yds  1852        Avg 20.4        Lg 100T       Td  1      |      Pr  191       Yds  1717        Avg   9.0       Td 1        Lg  84T