The Reconstruction Project: A one-on-one chat with new head coach Jeff Jones
The Old Dominion Monarch Basketball team went on one of the longest and largest roller coasters last season. In the midst of it all, a long-term decision was made and at the beginning of April, a new era has started. The coaching search lasted nearly two months and had a pool of over 150 applicants, but the search came to an end when American University coach Jeff Jones was called upon to take the reigns of the Monarchs..
With his number one goal of restoring the winning ways of Old Dominion. I was able to sit down and see what his views of the team and what he wants fans to know about himself and moving forward.
When Blaine Taylor was dismissed, Dr. Wood Selig made it clear that “At this point, in regard to our head men’s basketball coach, our student-athletes need more mentorship, guidance and leadership,” Selig continued. “Our fans and alumni need encouragement. Our administration needs confidence in our leadership.” Selig felt Jones was the right fit for this time and situation.. When I asked Jones about what this job meant to him, the authentic passion in his statement showed instantly what type of coach he will be a ‘players coach.’
“I think what it means is that it represents a tremendous opportunity…I think it’s a terrific job at an outstanding institution.” Jones hasn’t had much time to get into the city yet, but more importantly he’s focused on getting acquainted with the operations of the program. “We’ve certainly got some work to do but it’s got a tremendous amount of potential but I’m excited to get started.” The catalysts of last year’s squad, Richard Ross and a bundle of rising sophomores in Keenan Palmore, Deion Clark and Aaron Bacote.
Jones talked about some of the differences from previous schools compared to here at Old Dominion. “I’m trying to figure out how the athletic department works and being at a state institution there’s a lot more rules and regulations than at a private school so navigating those things has been interesting to say the least,” Jones said. Jones understands his selection as the new head coach but he pleas for Monarch Nation to give them time, saying.
“I certainly recognize that some folks maybe had some questions but the bottom line is regardless of who came here, you’ve got to do the job and ultimately, that’s where the proof is.” A wise man once said that “patience is a virtue,” and it is essential to the process that Old Dominion is going through. “Hopefully we’ll be able to accomplish those goals and people will give us a chance to get there and we’ll see that the things work out.” It has been awhile since we last saw the run and gun style of basketball that season ticket fans yearn for, but Jones feels like what they will install will be effective and win games. “When I was at American we had at different times, different styles. There were certainly years where we were more individually talented and we played a more fast pace style and there were times when we were still successful but maybe we had some really good pieces but maybe we didn’t have the ability to create offensive opportunities,” Jones said.
“In those cases as a coaching staff, we put in structure to allow our players to be successful, so that’s the kind of blueprint we will use here.” One thing that Jones wants to see out of all of his players is, excellence in the intangibles. “Playing hard, playing with passion, playing with intensity, that doesn’t vary, whether you’re using a 15 second shot clock or a 25 second shot clock, you’ve got to play hard, so that’s something we want to make sure we have.”
Therefore, all ODU’s community can do is continue to wait until Monarch Madness creeps around in October.
By: Mitchell Brown