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Jeff Jones has 21 years of experience as a head coach, most recently at American University.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
NORFOLK — A national search for a new Old Dominion men’s basketball coach that lasted nearly two months and began with more than 150 applicants ended with a familiar name best known from more than a decade ago and a few hours up the road.
Jeff Jones, a seasoned basketball hand who became the University of Virginia’s head coach at 29 but has spent the past 13 years in the relative anonymity of the Patriot League, will be introduced as the Monarchs’ next coach at a news conference today. He replaces Blaine Taylor, who was fired in February after 12 seasons.
Jones, 52, has 21 years of experience as a head coach – most recently at American University – and 29 overall. That experience was among the factors that made him ODU’s choice, athletic director Wood Selig said.
“Anybody in the business that you speak to about Jeff, if you know basketball, they rave about him,” said Selig, who was at UVa for part of the time Jones was there. “His knowledge of the game, his ability to teach, his work ethic, his recruiting contacts.”
The son of a coach, Jones grew up in Owensboro, Ky., and played at Virginia in the program’s heyday, during the Ralph Sampson era in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He joined Terry Holland’s coaching staff after graduation and took over as head coach for Holland in 1990. Jones took the Cavaliers to five NCAA tournaments, highlighted by a Sweet 16 appearance in 1993 and an Elite Eight run in 1995.
His teams had losing records in two of the next three years, however. A series of off-court incidents involving players contributed to his forced resignation in 1998.
Jones was hired at American University in 2000 and has a 212-182 record there.
Jones was one of four finalists interviewed, according to a source.
Others were Dennis Felton, the former coach at Western Kentucky and Georgia; Steve Robinson, a North Carolina assistant who was the head coach at Tulsa and Florida State; and Travis DeCuire, a California assistant who coached under Taylor at ODU.
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