Johnny Jones is the head men's Basketball coach at the University of North Texas. He previously served as the interim head coach at the University of Memphis.
Jones was named the head basketball coach at North Texas on April 16, 2001, and led the Mean Green to its first Sun Belt Conference Championship and its second NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007. The Mean Green entered the NCAA Tournament after posting a school-record 23 wins in 2006–07, and faced No. 2 seed Memphis in the South Regional First Round.
He followed that up in 2007-08 with a second straight 20-win season, which is only the sixth 20-win campaign in school history. The last time a Mean Green squad finished with back-to-back 20-win seasons was in 1976-78.
The Mean Green also racked up a school-record 15 home wins in 2007-08. As a matter of fact, North Texas’ 28 wins at the Super Pit from 2006-08 are the most in any two-year stretch in NT history.
Jones reached his 100th win at North Texas in 60-57 win over Florida International on Feb. 2, 2008. He is just the third North Texas coach to reach 100 victories, and only one reached the mark faster.
That year, the squad also set new school records for three-point percentage and largest second-half comeback (21 points at New Mexico State), which it also matched at home against Denver in Jan. of 2009. NT recorded a 32-point win at Louisiana-Monroe, which is the largest margin of defeat in Fant-Ewing Coliseum history. For a second straight season, North Texas led the Sun Belt Conference in every rebounding category.
Under his direction, the Mean Green has consistently put up solid numbers that reflect the program’s rise. Jones’ squads have led the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding in each of the last five seasons and have finished in the top two in scoring in the last three, including a Sun Belt high 76.9 points per game in 2007-08.
Known for his intense defensive presence, Jones’ teams have earned a reputation on the defensive end of the floor. In 2006-07, NT ranked 20th in the country with a +6.1 rebounding margin and 51st with 4.4 blocks per game. For the first time in school history, North Texas had a trio of players with at least 30 blocks last year. Not to mention, the Mean Green broke the school record for blocked shots in 2006 and 2007.
Attendance at the Super Pit has increased since Jones’ arrival as well. Attendance at the Super Pit for the men’s basketball team has grown from an average of 1,542 in 2000-01 to 3,178 per game in 2007-08 – the best attendance year since 1988-89. The Oklahoma State crowd of 6,793 ranks as the eighth largest in school history and the most in the Super Pit since 1980.
When Johnny Jones arrived as a freshman on the LSU campus in 1980 as an all-state guard and one of the nations top recruits, he brought with him the nickname “The Bullet,” which helped make him an instant hit with Tiger basketball fans.
Jones went on to help lead LSU to one of the most successful chapters in the school’s basketball history, including an appearance in the NCAA Final Four in 1981. But that experience was just the beginning for Jones, whose lifelong career in basketball not only includes that trip to the Final Four, but another Final Four appearance as an assistant coach, as well as eight other coaching trips to the NCAA Tournament and two NIT berths as an assistant coach.
Prior to North Texas, Jones served on the coaching staffs of two SEC powerhouses and had a three-year tenure at Memphis. Jones was apart of the Alabama staff for the 2000-01 season after coaching for the Tigers. He spent two seasons as associate head coach and one as the Tigers’ interim head coach during the 1999-2000 season.
As an assistant at Memphis in 1998, Jones helped coach the Tigers to the Conference USA National Division championship. When Jones was interim head coach at Memphis in 1999–2000, the Tigers won six of their final seven games and finished with a 15–16 record while returning just one starter from the previous season.
He also coached for 13 seasons at his alma mater, LSU, serving in the capacities of assistant coach, administrative assistant and associate head coach from 1984 to 1997 alongside legendary head coach Dale Brown. He was the Tigers’ associate head coach from 1994-97.
Jones’ ability as a recruiter is reflected in the talent he not only helped lure to LSU, but the players he attracted to Memphis during his time there. He helped secure LSU’s 1993 recruiting class which was ranked No. 1 in the nation. And in 1997 at Memphis, Jones also helped accumulate a JUCO recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 nationally and was the cornerstone of an overall class that was ranked seventh. Jones assisted in the recruiting and coaching of Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Jackson and former national high school player of the year Randy Livingston.
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