South Carolina State alumnus Willie "Will" Jones was announced as the 11th head men's basketball coach at North Carolina A&T in the modern NCAA era (1952-present) on Friday, June 19.
He previously served as the Aggies' acting head coach starting on Dec. 24, 2019. He was promoted to associate head coach prior to that on July 1, 2018, by then-head coach Jay Joyner. He was hired as an assistant men’s basketball coach at NC A&T under Joyner on July 6, 2016.
During his time as the acting head coach in the 2019-20 season, Jones led the Aggies to a 14-5 record overall and 12-4 mark in the MEAC as the Aggies entered the MEAC tournament as the No. 2 seed. The tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But before the cancellation, Jones led the Aggies to a first-round win over Howard.
For his efforts during the 2019-20 season, Jones was named MEAC and BoxToRow Coach of the Year. He also had two players — Ronald Jackson and Kameron Langley — earn first-team All-MEAC honors.
N.C. A&T's 12 wins in the MEAC marked the most ever by a first-year Aggies head coach. N.C. A&T ended the 2019-20 season by leading the conference in scoring offense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, rebounding offense, assists, steals, turnover margin, assist-to-turnover ratio and defensive rebounds.
As an assistant, Jones served as the Aggies' lead recruiter along with taking on the tasks of player development, academics, scouting and on-court teaching.
Jones assisted Joyner in helping the Aggies orchestrate one of the best turnarounds in NCAA Division I history. N.C. A&T improved by 17 games from the 2016-17 to the 2017-18 season to go 20-15 overall.
Before his arrival in Aggieland, Jones spent one season (2015-16) as a men’s basketball assistant coach at Florida A&M. He began his career at Tennessee State (2003-05) as a graduate assistant where he prepared video for coaching analysis, prepared scouting reports on upcoming opponents coordinated film exchange, directed TSU’s basketball camps and clinics while coordinating marketing and promotions of those events and he handled all team equipment.
Jones had a one-year stay at Lemoyne-Owen College (2005-06) as an assistant men’s basketball coach before becoming an assistant at his alma mater of South Carolina State (2006-07). After his one season back in Orangeburg, Jones joined the junior college ranks as an assistant coach at Northwest Florida State College (formerly known as Okaloosa Walton College) in Niceville, Fla. He helped the program compile a 48-11 record during his tenure there (2007-09).
At Charleston Southern (2009-11), Jones was a vital part of the staff as two of his recruits became all-conference standouts for the Buccaneers.
Jacksonville University (2011-14) provided Jones with an opportunity to coordinate game schedules, recruit talented players to the program, install the offensive scheme, assist with scouting opponents and assembling the game plan, manage the basketball budget and monitor the academic progress of the student-athletes.
Before his stop at FAMU, Jones was the head boys basketball coach and physical education instructor at West Nassau High School in Callahan, Fla. (2014-15).
As a team captain his senior year at SC State, Jones helped the Bulldogs win the 2003 MEAC tournament championship in a 72-67 win over Hampton in the final as the Bulldogs went on to play Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Jones graduated cum laude in sports communications with a concentration in management in 2003 from S.C. State. He was a member of the MEAC All-Academic Team from 2001-03 and earned 2003 Black Voice Magazine Academic All-American honors as well. Jones is a native of Moncks Corner, and has a master’s in sports administration from Tennessee State in 2005.
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