James Jones boasts the longest tenure among current Ivy men’s head coaches, and that tenure isn’t done.
There will be a 21st season at Yale’s helm in store for Jones despite him interviewing for the head coaching position at St. John’s that ultimately was offered to and accepted by Mike Anderson, who was fired by Arkansas after nine seasons there last month and was previously a head coach at UAB and Missouri.
Jones was among the final candidates that St. John’s considered after a protracted search that saw Bobby Hurley, Porter Moser and Tim Cluess withdraw their names from consideration.
Taking over at St. John’s would have marked a homecoming for Jones, a Long Island native.
“Obviously, I was intrigued by the opportunity,” Jones told the New Haven Register. “I had interest, they had interest.”
But Jones will return to Yale, where his next win will give him 311 victories there and break a tie with Fran Dunphy for the second-highest number of wins all-time among Ivy men’s coaches behind only Pete Carril.
“You have a conversation with people, things go sideways and everybody thinks you’re leaving,” Jones told the New Haven Register. “All this misinformation because people are dying for a story. When you’re dealing with stuff like this, it’s important you keep it whole and the kids know you’re invested in them. The last thing I want is for the kids to think I don’t want to be here.”
Yale has finished in the top half of the league each of the past 19 seasons under Jones, who has led the Bulldogs to four Ivy League titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 winning campaigns.
The Ivy League is a stronger, more competitive and more colorful league with Jones’s high-level coaching acumen, formidable recruiting and good humor in it. With Jordan Bruner, Azar Swain and Paul Atkinson returning and Miye Oni possibly resurfacing for his senior season pending his NBA Draft evaluation process, here’s predicting a 20th straight top-four finish for the Elis in 2020.