Jeff Jones to leave American basketball for Old Dominion


Jeff Jones led American to its only two NCAA tournament appearances. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

After 13 seasons as men’s basketball coach at American University, Jeff Jones has taken the same position at Old Dominion and is scheduled to be introduced during a news conference Thursday morning in Norfolk, several people familiar with the hiring have confirmed.

American officials declined to comment. Old Dominion Athletic Director Wood Selig confirmed the hiring during a Hampton Roads, Va., radio interview on Wednesday evening.

Jones, 52, is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he played basketball and was the Cavaliers’ head coach before taking over at American in 2000. Under Jones, the Eagles secured NCAA tournament berths in 2008 and 2009, the only appearances in program history, and had nine winning seasons.

American went 10-20 this season after winning 22 and 20 games, respectively, over the previous two. The Eagles lost to Army, 65-44, in the Patriot League tournament quarterfinals March 6 to complete their season.

Jones had a career record of 212-182 at American. His all-time coaching record is 358-286 in 21 seasons.

In February, Old Dominion dismissed Blaine Taylor in the midst of the program’s worst season in 60 years. In nearly 12 seasons with the Monarchs, Taylor won a program-record 239 games and took Old Dominion to four NCAA tournament appearances, winning first-round games in 2010 and 2011.

Assistant Jim Corrigan took over on an interim basis, winning three of the last eight games for the Monarchs (5-25), who are leaving the Colonial Athletic Association and will begin play in Conference USA for the 2013-14 season.

The news of Jones’s departure comes at a time of transition for American. During a news conference in February, school president Neil Kerwin welcomed Billy Walker as the new athletic director. Walker replaced Keith Gill, who left in December to become the athletic director at the University of Richmond.

Jones and Gill had formed a close working relationship during Gill’s five years at American, and Walker’s tenure was not set to begin until this month, leaving a temporary void at the top of the athletic department hierarchy.

Jones and Selig were colleagues in Charlottesville when Jones was Virginia’s coach and Selig worked in athletic administration. Jones became the youngest head coach in ACC history when he was named to the post in 1990.

Virginia went to five NCAA tournaments in eight seasons under Jones. In 1995, he directed the Cavaliers to a region final, in which they lost to Arkansas, at the time the reigning national champion. In 1993, Virginia advanced to the round of 16.

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.

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