Men’s head basketball coach James Jones is being considered for coaching vacancies at the University of Washington and Bradley University.
In a 40-minute team meeting Tuesday that dealt mostly with plans for the off-season, Jones spent the last five minutes talking about his coaching future, players on the team said. Jones was interviewed by both Washington and Bradley during his trip to the Final Four in Atlanta this weekend. He will travel to Bradley in Peoria, Ill., for a second interview today, players said.
“He was kind of giving us a heads-up on what is going on,” captain Ime Archibong ’03 said. “He did a phenomenal job this year. If you show you can succeed, people from the top are going to try and pluck you up.”
Jones declined to comment on his coaching plans.
Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett said he had given permission to officials from Bradley and Washington to talk to Jones about their coaching vacancies.
“Yale wants to keep coach Jones very, very badly. He is an outstanding coach and a terrific person,” Beckett said. “At the same time, we want to give everybody an opportunity to take a look at what is out there.”
Bradley Athletics Director Ken Kavanaugh told the Peoria Journal-Star that the school would bring three of its four finalists for the job to campus. The Journal-Star reported that there were several candidates for the job, including ex-Bradley and NBA player Jim Les and North Carolina-Greensboro head coach Fran McCaffrey, but made no mention of Jones. Bradley fired 11-year head coach Jim Molinari on March 5, following a season in which his team went 9-20.
Washington has been without a coach since ninth-year coach Bob Bender was fired March 20 after posting an 11-18 record this season. Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Missouri’s Quin Snyder and Minnesota’s Dan Monson have been considered for the post, but all have pulled their names from consideration. According to ESPN, Monson had accepted the job Monday night but had a change of heart Tuesday. St. Louis’ Lorenzo Romar is the only other name that has been reported in connection with the Washington job.
Along with these high-profile names, the Seattle Times reported Sunday that there were widespread rumors of an additional “mystery candidate” in the mix, but did not name any possibilities. There has also been speculation in Seattle newspapers that Washington Athletics Director Barbara Hedges would like to hire a minority coach, which both Romar and Jones are.
The news that Jones was in the running for other head coaching jobs did not come as a surprise to his players.
“He is a great coach, as proven by what he has done with this program,” Alex Gamboa ’05 said.
In his three years at Yale, Jones has a coaching record of 38-48, 23-19 Ivy. He inherited a 4-22 team when he arrived three years ago but guided it to a share of the Ivy League championship this year. Yale also recorded its first postseason win ever with a 67-65 upset at Rutgers in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
“I tend to think he is coming back,” Gamboa said. “We have everybody coming back. I know he loves the older guys. He wants to see them win a championship and go to the tournament.”