Assistant Coaches: Kelvin Jefferson,
Kieran Donohue, Greg
Graduate Manager: TBA
In just four seasons
as head coach, Jeff Jones has put his stamp on American University basketball,
molding and rejuvenating a program that has a proud past, and is now looking
at a bright future.
Three words have been associated with Jones since his days as a top-level
student-athlete Leader, Teacher, and Winner and those could
not be truer today as he begins his third season at the helm in 2002-03.
Last year, Jones led
American into a new chapter of its basketball history, as the University
became a member of the Patriot League. Stepping into the unknown, coupled
with 10 new players dotting the roster, Jones and the Eagles racked up
a laundry list of accomplishments, putting the program back in the spotlight.
The season could be considered a whirlwind, as American was coming off
a disappointing 2000-01 campaign and was picked by many to finish in the
second tier of the Patriot League. As each small success built on the
one prior, the campaign culminated with a berth in the Patriot League
Championship game in front of a national audience on ESPN. March 8, 2002,
will be remembered as the finale to an outstanding season, but for Jones
and the Eagles, it promises to be a small part of something much larger.
Noted for his ability to connect with his players and meld a unit that
competes as one, Jones mentored American to the second largest turnaround
in the NCAA Division I last season, finishing with an 18-12 overall record.
The 11-game improvement from 2000-01 was second only to Bob Knights
Texas Tech squad that featured a 14-game turnaround. The 18 victories
were the highest win total for the program since 1989-90, and its first
winning campaign since 1990-91. The Eagles went on to capture the Patriot
League regular-season title, fashioning a 10-4 record in the process.
The top seed in the league tournament, the Eagles advanced to the championship
game, where it fell to Holy Cross, 55-52, before the largest championship
crowd in league history and just the second sellout in the history of
AUs Bender Arena.
The accomplishments did not begin and end within the confines of the Patriot
League by any stretch of the imagination. American gained national recognition
with a 77-72 win at Florida State on Dec. 22, becoming the first Patriot
League school to ever defeat a member of the renowned Atlantic Coast Conference
On a personal note,
Jones was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year by Basketball
One of the most respected
teachers in the collegiate ranks, Jones took the helm of American basketball
on April 17, 2000, becoming the 17th coach in the schools history.
Jones has made his mark on the national college basketball scene as both
a student-athlete and as a head coach. Following a storied high school
career, he went on to star at point guard for the University of Virginia
from 1978-82. After graduation he served eight seasons as an assistant
coach at his alma mater before being tabbed the Cavaliers head coach
prior to the 1990-91 campaign. He would go on to lead that program for
Just prior to coming to American, Jones served as an assistant on Jerry
DeGregorios staff at the University of Rhode Island during the 1999-2000
Named the eighth coach in Virginia mens basketball history at the
tender age of 29, Jones became the youngest coach in the history of the
Atlantic Coast Conference. In eight years at the helm, he complied a record
of 146-104 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. Virginias win over Virginia Tech during
the 1994-95 regular season gave Jones his 100th career victory, making
him the second-fastest in school history and fifth-fastest in ACC history
to accomplish the feat.
A coach with a distinct style, the cornerstone of Jones teams has
been their defensive prowess. During his tenure at Virginia, he led the
Cavaliers to five of the top six seasons for field goal percentage defense.
Virginia made its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in seven seasons under
Jones in 1996-97. Finishing that season with an overall mark of 18-13,
the Cavaliers fell to Iowa in a West Region first-round game.
Jones enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his coaching career in 1994-95,
leading Virginia to a final mark of 25-9. The program advanced to the
NCAA Tournaments Elite Eight and earned a share of its
first ACC regular-season crown since 1983. Virginia finished that season
ranked eighth in the final CNN/USA Today poll, and 13th in the final Associated
Press media poll. Those were the highest final national rankings by a
Virginia team since 1983.
In 1992-93 Jones
became the only coach in conference history to win at least 20 games in
each of his first three seasons. He led Virginia to a 21-10 record (9-7
ACC) and a trip to the 1993 East Region semifinals in the NCAA Tournament.
In 1991-92, Jones Cavaliers posted a 20-13 record and went on to
win the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship. As a result,
Jones became the first individual to win an NIT title as both a player
and a coach; he is still the only person to accomplish the feat. In his
first season as the head coach at Virginia, Jones led the 1990-91 squad
to a 21-12 overall record. He was the only rookie coach in the nation
that year to have his team in the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to his eight-year
run as head coach, Jones was a full-time assistant on Terry Hollands
staff at UVa from 1986 to 1990, a part-time assistant for three seasons
and a graduate assistant for one. The Cavaliers complied an incredible
overall record of 162-95 (.630) during those eight seasons as an assistant,
participating in six NCAA Tournaments, while advancing to the Final Four
in 1984 and the Final Eight in 1989. Virginia also competed in one National
Invitation Tournament (NIT) during his tenure.
As a four-year starter
(1979-82) at Virginia, Jones was known as a leader and prolific passer.
With Jones at the controls of a potent offense, UVa complied an overall
record of 102-28 (.785), while he led the Cavaliers to two NCAA Tournaments
and two NITs during his career. Virginia captured the 1980 NIT title,
and advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1981. Jones graduated from Virginia
in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
Jones finished his career as Virginias all-time assists leader (598),
and his 200 assists during the 1979-80 season was UVas single-season
record until both marks were later broken by John Crotty. Jones served
as the team captain as a senior during the 1981-82 season and played in
129 games during his career. For his career, 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.
A native of Owensboro, KY, Jones is a member of the Apollo High School
Hall of Fame. His father, Bob, is a former coach of Kentucky Wesleyan
College, which he led to the 1973 NCAA Division II title.
Jones and his wife,
Danielle, reside in Arlington, VA. He is the father of three children
- Meghann (15), Madison Perry (12), and Jeffrey Robert (9).