Athletic director and men's basketball coach Wil Jones, who has been at the University of the District of Columbia for 20 years, yesterday was hired as men's basketball coach at Norfolk State University.

"I am on an emotional roller coaster," Jones said in a telephone interview from Norfolk yesterday. "I love UDC. I love the men who play for me. But this is an opportunity I have worked hard for, an opportunity to coach in Division I."

At a news conference, officials of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school announced that Jones would fill the position vacated last month by acting coach Melvin Coleman. Coleman and three other coaches resigned June 29 after an internal audit disclosed irregularities in the athletic department's travel accounts.

In accepting the job, Jones is reunited with Orby Moss, the newly hired athletic director who held a similar position at UDC in 1979, when he hired Jones as basketball coach. "I hired Wil because we worked together and because I know of his abilities," Moss said. "He has been a winner every place he has gone."

Moss said Jones, 59, has a four-year contract, but terms weren't disclosed. Jones, a former assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Maryland before going to UDC, compiled a 234-145 record at UDC. He led the Firebirds to the NCAA Division II national championship in 1983. Last season, his team was 14-12.

Jones will be taking over a Norfolk State team that was 15-12 and returns all five starters.

In addition to Jones, Norfolk State officials also named two other coaches, head track and field coach Floyd Conley and men's cross-country coach Kenneth Giles.