March 29, 2010
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By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Donnie Jones, one of the nation's premier recruiters and a rising star in the coaching community, has been selected as the head coach of the UCF men's basketball program, director of athletics and executive vice president Keith Tribble announced Monday. Jones recently concluded his third season as the head coach at Marshall, where he quickly turned around the Thundering Herd program.
On Tuesday at 2 p.m., Jones will formally be introduced to the UCF community during a press conference at the UCF Arena.
"Donnie Jones is an excellent coach, a phenomenal recruiter and a great person," Tribble said. "We are thrilled to welcome Donnie and his family to Orlando and the UCF Athletics community. Donnie has a vision for this program that includes attracting top-notch student-athletes and competing for championships. He is the right coach to lead UCF men's basketball to the next level."
Prior to his time at Marshall, Jones served for 11 years as an assistant coach at Florida, helping the program claim a pair of national titles and make three trips to the Final Four.
During the 2009-10 campaign, Jones led Marshall to one of the best seasons in school history as the Herd went 24-10 and advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The appearance was the first trip to the postseason for Marshall in 22 years. Marshall finished the year 11-5 in Conference USA play, tying the Herd for third in the league and serving as the school's best conference finish for the program since 2000-01.
To help accomplish this impressive turnaround, Jones attracted several top recruits to Marshall, including Hassan Whiteside, who led the nation in blocks this past season. Whiteside was named both the 2009-10 C-USA Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, and garnered Freshman All-America Second Team honors from The Sporting News.
In three seasons at Marshall, Jones compiled a 55-41 record. After arriving in Huntington, W.Va., in 2007, Jones led the Herd to a 16-14 record during his inaugural campaign, giving Marshall its first winning season in seven years. He guided his team to victories over a pair of eventual NCAA Tournament squads in San Diego and Winthrop, and helped Marshall go 8-8 in C-USA play. In 2008-09, Marshall went 15-17 overall and 7-9 in league games.
A native of Point Pleasant, W.Va., Jones worked under Billy Donovan as an assistant coach at Florida from 1996-07. Jones helped the school make to three trips to the Final Four and back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. He played a key role in Florida's recruiting and player development that led to a school-record nine-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, four Southeastern Conference Eastern Division titles and three SEC Tournament crowns.
During Jones' time at Florida, the program signed 11 McDonald's High School All-America selections and boasted consensus top-five national recruiting classes on five occasions.
Jones was promoted to Florida's associate head coach before the 2006-07 campaign. Before joining the Florida staff, he worked at Marshall for six years. He was a graduate assistant from 1990-92, and then was an assistant for four seasons.
Jones graduated from Pikeville (Ky.) College in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in business education. He earned his master's degree in sports management from Marshall in 1992. Jones had a stellar college playing career at Pikeville, recording a school-record 513 career assists. He served as the team's captain as a senior and finished second in the nation in the NAIA with 10.7 assists per game.
Jones and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Madisyn Michelle, Sofie Louise and Donald Isaac.
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