Our November 11th Luncheon Speaker was Jeff Jones, 13th head men’s basketball coach at Old Dominion.
Jones brings a 21-year, 358-286 career head coaching record to ODU, which includes a 212-182 record at American and 146-104 as head coach at Virginia. His teams advanced to nine post-season appearances (six at UVA and three at AU), including a 1995 NCAA Elite Eight, a 1993 NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and an NIT Championship in 1992 while at UVA.
“It is a great honor to be named the head coach at Old Dominion. I have had great respect for the tradition and success of the Old Dominion basketball program, dating back to the early 1970s when my father’s teams at Kentucky Wesleyan played great ODU teams that included Dave Twardzik and Wilson Washington,” Jones said. “Later as a player at Virginia, I went head to head against ODU’s Tommy Conrad at the point position and played against Ronnie Valentine and Mark West.”
“I am very impressed with the growth of ODU and came away from my interview with great respect for President John Broderick and his vision for the university and commitment to a successful athletic program,” Jones said. “The facilities, including the Constant Center, are outstanding, and the community support and attendance for men’s basketball is incredible. It also goes without saying that having the ability to work again with Wood Selig, whom I worked with at Virginia, was very attractive for me as well.”
One of the most respected teachers in the collegiate ranks, four of Jones’ last six teams at American won 20 or more games and two Patriot League championships. Jones led the Eagles to a 20-win season in 2011-12 and advanced to the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament. His 2010-11 squad went 22-9 with 11 nonconference wins and advanced to the Patriot League semifinals, while the 2008-09 team capped off the season with a 24-8 overall record, matching the program’s record for wins and a 13-1 Patriot League mark. The Eagles led the nation in road wins that season with 11 and their 59.1 points per game allowed average ranked 11th nationally. Jones was named Patriot League Coach of the Year and NABC District 13 Coach of the Year in 2009. The 2007-08 Eagles captured the Patriot League title, and advanced to the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance after compiling a 21-12 record, which included a 67-59 win at Maryland. In 2001-02, AU won the regular season title in compiling an 18-12 record.
“We were extremely fortunate to speak with some great candidates, all of whom could have successfully led the program. Jeff Jones, however, in my opinion, had the best plan to move Old Dominion basketball forward as we transition to Conference USA,” ODU President John R. Broderick said.
Jones was named head coach at UVA in 1990 at age 29, following a standout playing career with the Cavaliers and eight years as an assistant coach under Terry Holland. He was the youngest head coach in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference and in eight years compiled 146 wins for a .584 winning percentage. He led Virginia to six postseason appearances (five NCAA, one NIT), one regular-season ACC championship, and four 20-win campaigns. Virginia’s win against Virginia Tech during the 1994-95 regular season gave Jones his 100th career victory, making him the second-fastest coach in school history and fifth-fastest in ACC history to accomplish the feat. He also directed the Cavaliers to five of their top six seasons for field-goal percentage defense. In winning the 1992 NIT championship, Jones became the first person to win the NIT title as both a player and a coach.
Prior to his eight-year run as head coach, Jones was an assistant coach for eight years on Terry Holland’s staff at UVA. During his tenure as an assistant, Jones was a part of the Cavaliers’ overall record of 162-95 (.630), participating in six NCAA tournaments while advancing to the Final Four in 1984 and the Elite Eight in 1989.
Jones leaves American as the school’s winningest all-time coach. During his tenure, he developed 21 players who have been named All Patriot League, 23 who went on to play professionally, two who earned Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors (Andre Ingram 2004 and Derrick Mercer 2006), and two Patriot League Players of the Year (Patrick Doctor 2002 and Mercer in 2009).
Jones served as an assistant on Jerry DeGregorio’s Rhode Island staff during the 1999-2000 season before taking the helm at American in April of 2000.
A native of Owensboro, Ky., Jones had a standout career at Apollo High School before playing the point guard position for Virginia from 1978-82. His father Bobby Jones was the head coach at Kentucky Wesleyan from 1972-1980, winning the 1973 NCAA Division II national title. As a four-year starter for the Cavaliers, Jones was known as a leader and prolific passer. With Jones directing a potent offense, UVA compiled an overall record of 102-28 (.785) while he led the Cavaliers to two NCAA and two NIT tournaments. Virginia captured the 1980 NIT title and advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1981.
Jones finished his career as Virginia’s all-time assist leader (598) while also setting the single-season record with 200 assists during the 1979-80 season. Later, as head coach, he saw both of those records eclipsed by his own player, John Crotty. Jones served as team captain as a senior during the 1981-82 season and played in 129 games during his career. During that time he averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 74.3 percent from the free-throw line.