Men’s basketball head coach Jeff Jones leaving for Old Dominion
UPDATE: April 4, 5:21 p.m.
In a campus-wide email, Interim Director of Athletics David Taylor confirmed that men's basketball Head Coach Jeff Jones has departed AU to become the head basketball coach at Old Dominion University.
"This is a bittersweet day for me," Jones told Aueagles.com. "I'm very excited about the opportunity that awaits me at Old Dominion University, but I'm also sad to be leaving AU, a place I've called home for 13 years."
Jones was introduced as the head coach at Old Dominion at a press conference the morning of April 4 at Old Dominion.
"We want to thank Coach Jones for his wonderful contributions to the AU community and wish him the very best," AU President Neil Kerwin said in an AUEagles.com press release.
"Jeff Jones was an icon," incoming Director of Athletics Billy Walker said in a phone interview. "I was looking forward to working with him."
Walker said that details about the search for a new head coach were being finalized, adding that he was looking forward to the opportunity.
According to AU Eagles.com, Associate Head Coach Kieran Donohue will serve as a liaison to the men's basketball team until a coach is hired.
AU head men's basketball coach Jeff Jones has left the program to take the same position at Old Dominion University, according to multiple media reports and confirmed by a source inside the Athletic Department.
Nancy Yasharoff, associate athletic director of communications, declined to comment. Jones did not respond to a request for comment.
Jones is coming off his worst season in his time with the Eagles after AU suffered many bad firsts in program history. AU failed to earn a top-four seed in the Patriot League Tournament and lost in the first round of the conference tournament.
They finished the year 10-20, including a Patriot League mark of 5-10 and ended the season on a five-game losing streak.
According to a men's basketball player who requested anonymity, no one has informed the team of any coaching change. However, that announcement is expected to be made at a team meeting at 4 p.m. that wasn't scheduled until Wednesday, April 3.
With the coaching change, the most immediate impact could be whether players decide to transfer out of the program. One player, however, has already shot down that possibility.
"No, none [what] so ever [sic]," junior center Tony Wroblicky said when asked if he'd consider transferring. "I'm ride or die with AU."
Four players to keep an eye on as this situation unfolds are the high school seniors who signed letters of intent to play at AU next season. Those include point guard Dallas Cameron, shooting guards Kade Kager and Jalen Rhea and power forward Yilret Yiljep.
"No, they didn't [tell me of a coaching change] ... but I'm highly disappointed," Cameron said. The Blanche Ely High School of Florida floor general also said he's unsure of what he'll do, but he likely won't ask out of his letter of intent.
Replacing Jones, the only coach who had led AU to the NCAA Tournament, will be the first big challenge for new Athletic Director William Walker, who hasn't started yet.
Jones just completed his 13th year at the helm of the men's basketball program, compiled a record of 202-162 and led the Eagles to two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Since Jones just signed a contract extension through the 2016 season a year and a half ago, this move surprises many. A plethora of current and former men's basketball players took to Twitter to express their reactions to the media reports.
Well that was unexpected— Tony Wroblicky (@TWthekid) April 3, 2013
@ireenie4 OMG I'm shocked— Derrick Mercer (@D_Mercer3) April 3, 2013
Eagle Staff Writers Eric Saltzman and Zach C. Cohen contributed to this report.