Marshall To Hire Donnie Jones As Hoops Coach

Donnie Jones has been hired as the new men's basketball coach at Marshall University, according to sources in the athletic department. Jones, currently the associate head coach at the University of Florida for Billy Donovan's two-time NCAA National Champions, will join the Gator celebration this evening in Gainesville, then head to Huntington, W.Va. for a 10 a.m. press conference.

Donnie Jones is a native of Point Pleasant, W.Va., about 45 minutes north of Huntington, and played his college basketball at Pikeville (Kentucky) College, a little over an hour from the Marshall campus. He began his coaching career at Pikeville after graduating in 1988, joining the staff of current University of Charleston (W.Va.) head coach Greg White at Pikeville. Jones joined Marshall's staff under head coach Dwight Freeman in 1990 as a graduate assistant, gaining a Master's degee from MU in 1992. He then became a full-time coach for Freeman.

Jones was the transition coach at Marshall, kept by Billy Donovan when he replaced Freeman at Marshall in 1994. Donovan won 35 games and lost 20 over two seasons, claiming the Southern Conference North Division title in 1995. Jones then followed Donovan to the University of Florida in 1996 and has been on the staff since then. He was promoted to Associate Head Coach last year. He assists Donovan in all phases of coaching the Gators - recruiting, practice, scouting and coaching games. Jones had the scout on Ohio State for the Gator's 85-74 win in the national championship Monday of this week and since 1998, the Gators have signed nine McDonald's High School All-Americans while boasting the top five recruiting classes in the nation in four of the past eight years.

Jones is married to the former Michelle Gibson, who is from Salt Rock, W.Va., just outside of Huntington, and they have two children: daughter Madisyn (born Feb. 17, 2001) and son Donald (Feb. 4, 2004). Jones has continued to operate a summer camp in Point Pleasant during his coaching at Florida and was inducted into Pikeville's Hall of Fame in the summer of 2004 for being second in the nation in NAIA basketball in assists in 1988 (10.7) in leading Pikeville to its first 20-win season. He is the school's all-time leader in assists. Jones was born July 7, 1966.

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