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Old Dominion Men's Basketball Head Coach Jeff Jones Announces Retirement


NORFOLK, Va. – After eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight, a dozen 20-win seasons, and an NIT Championship, Old Dominion University Men's Basketball Head Coach Jeff Jones announced his retirement on Monday. Jones finishes his 32-year head coaching career with a record of 560-418.
"I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to coach college basketball for 41 years," said Jones. "These past 11 years at Old Dominion University have been especially rewarding. I would like to thank ODU President Brian Hemphill and Athletic Director Wood Selig for their unwavering support and friendship. I would like to thank my staff for their hard work and dedication, especially Kieran Donohue for taking the reins these last few months. I would like to thank Monarch Nation for being the best fan base a coach could ever ask for, for their conference-leading attendance, and for their undying commitment to this program. And I would like to thank the many student-athletes who made us proud both on and off the court.
"Basketball has given me a life that exceeded all of my expectations.  It is hard to step away from coaching, but I will always be grateful to the people along the way who made this career possible. Thank you to the players, the assistants, the administrators, the fans, the families, and the friends who have been part of this journey – you will be a member of my team for life."
With 560 wins, Jones retires as the 19th winningest active coach in Division I and tied for 91st of all time. Five of his wins came against Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in Division I men's college basketball.
One of only two Old Dominion men's basketball coaches with more than 200 wins, Jones led the Monarchs to four 20-win seasons and four post-season tournaments, including the 2019 NCAA Tournament after winning the Conference USA regular season and conference championships.
In his 11 seasons at ODU, Jones went 203-131 and had six seasons finishing in the top-four of the conference regular season standings.
Jones's calling card was always how tough his teams played and how good they were defensively. During a five-year span from 2014-19, ODU finished in the top-10 nationally in scoring defense, ranking as high as fifth in 2016-17. In all but one of Jones's 11 seasons at ODU, the Monarchs allowed less than 67 points per game and the 2014-15 Monarchs held opponents to a school record 57.1 points per game. In a 2018 win over UTEP, the Monarchs held the Miners to a school record 33 points in an 82-33 triumph.
"Coach Jones has a distinguished record and proven success throughout his many years as a dedicated coach, caring mentor, and true professional," ODU President Brian O. Hemphill said. "His lasting impact on and off the court has defined his meaningful connections on our campus, our community, and beyond. Without question, he has earned this well-deserved retirement and special opportunity to spend more time with his beloved family after fully dedicating his talent and time to sharing his love of basketball with generations of athletes and scholars, as well as fans and supporters. Monarch Nation will forever be indebted to Coach Jones for his service, spirit, and strength!"
In Jones's first season at ODU in 2013-14, he led the Monarchs to a 13-win improvement from the year before, marking the largest turn around in the country and taking the Monarchs to the semifinals of the Tournament.
The momentum carried into the next two seasons as Jones led the 2014-15 Monarchs to a 27-8 record, the second most wins in program history, and to the NIT Semifinals, while the following year the Monarchs won 25 games and the Vegas 16 Championship. The 2015 squad was the first ODU squad in program history to be ranked in the Top-25 as the Monarchs knocked off No. 14 VCU and began the year 12-1.
Jones continued ODU's upwards trajectory finishing in the top four of Conference USA five-consecutive years, leading to ODU's 26-9 campaign in 2019 behind Ahmad Caver and B.J. Stith that won both the C-USA regular season and conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth. The 2019 squad won eight-straight early in the season, not losing in the month of December, including a win at No. 25 Syracuse.

Under Jones's guidance, seven Monarchs earned all-conference honors, including a trio of players that were two-time first-team all-conference players, including Trey Freeman, Ahmad Caver, and B.J. Stith, while Stith earned Conference Player of the Year honors and honorable mention All-American in 2019.
"Coach Jones has led our Monarch basketball program with class and integrity for the last 11 seasons and we are greatly indebted to him for leading our program to such outstanding achievements in the classroom and on the court," ODU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig said.
"Under Coach Jones's leadership, ODU's traditionally strong basketball program was ranked for the first time ever in the AP Top 25 basketball poll, was a regular finisher near or at the top of our league standings, while averaging nearly 20 wins a year over the course of his ODU career and was ranked annually among the best in the country for academic success. Coach Jones will forever be remembered as one of the most respected coaches to ever coach the game, possessing one of the premiere basketball minds of all time. His lasting legacy will be the hundreds of young men he has helped transform into husbands, fathers, community leaders, and professional success stories."
Jones began his head coaching career in 1990 at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, as the youngest coach in ACC history at the age of 29, leading the Cavaliers to four 20-win seasons in his first five seasons and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite 8 and a Sweet 16. His 1992 Virginia squad won the NIT.
After UVA, Jones spent a year as an assistant coach at Rhode Island before a record-setting run at American. Jones lifted the Eagles to AU's first-ever NCAA Tournaments with back-to-back appearances in 2008 and 2009, after guiding the program to the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 Patriot League championship games. Jones had a 211-183 record in 13 seasons at American and remains the program's all-time winningest coach.
Jones began his coaching career as an assistant at UVA from 1982-1990, during which the Cavaliers' had an overall record of 162-95 and participated in six NCAA Tournaments while advancing to the Final Four in 1984 and the Elite Eight in 1989.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Jones was a standout point guard for the Cavaliers. As a four-year starter (1979-1982), Jones was known as a leader and prolific passer. With Jones directing the potent offense, UVA compiled an overall record of 102-28 (.785) while leading the Cavaliers to two NCAAs and two NIT tournaments. With Jones as point guard, Virginia captured the 1980 NIT title and advanced to the 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, 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.  
Jones has been an active volunteer throughout his career, as well as an ardent supporter of the military, visiting bases overseas three times as part of the Troops First Foundation's "Operation Hardwood." In 2008 and 2009 he traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq, and in 2023 he coached troops at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. In 2015, Jones was named the 2015 Barefoot Coach of the Year by Samaritan's Feet, which provides shoes to impoverished children. 
Jones is a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council and has helped to raise more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society, which honored him in 2019 with a Champion of Hope Award.  He has also supported many groups working to raise prostate cancer awareness, including ZERO Cancer's Grow & Give campaign.
Jones also served as the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (2016-2017) and was a longtime member of the NABC Board.
One of the most respected leaders in the collegiate ranks, Jones took three different schools to the NCAA tournament, coached teams to 13 total postseason appearances, won the NIT as both a player and a head coach, advanced to the Final Four as both a player and an assistant coach, was a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year and a Conference USA Coach of the Year, and developed over 100 players who went on to play professionally.