Nov. 19, 2013
PINEHURST, N.C. - Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones will be inducted as a member of the inaugural Hall of Fame Class at Sandhills Community College on Thursday, as the current Green Wave skipper was a pitcher for the program in the early-70s.
Jones, who will be entering his 21st season as head coach for the Green Wave in 2014, was a left-handed pitcher for the then-Sandhills Spartans from 1972-73. After his two years at the school, Jones moved onto UNC-Wilmington, where he wrapped up his collegiate career.
"Had it not been for Sandhills Community College, I'm not sure if I would have been able to go to college," said Jones. "Fortunately, they made that possible for me, and it allowed me to pursue a dream as far as a career. Even more importantly, in my sophomore year, I met a freshman cheerleader that has been my soul mate in marriage for the last 35 years. It was a great situation for me."
After finishing his collegiate career, Jones began coaching at EE Smith High School in Fayetteville, N.C., before making stops as head coach at both Ferrum and Elon. After serving as the pitching coach at Georgia Tech in the early 1990s, Jones was hired as the 22nd head coach in Tulane baseball history prior to the 1994 season.
Since joining Tulane, Jones has taken the baseball program to new levels, including two College World Series appearances in 2001 and 2005, as well as a Super Regional appearance in 2004. Twelve of Jones' Green Wave teams have made it to the NCAA Regionals, and he has won the Conference USA Tournament in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005.
The three-time Conference USA Coach of the Year was also named the National Coach of the Year in 2005, as he led his No. 1 ranked Green Wave team to their second CWS berth in four years.
While Jones was the recruiting coordinator and pitching coach for USA Collegiate National Team in 1990, he was named their head coach during the 2009 season, earning the Gold Medal from the World Baseball Challenge held in Prince George, British Columbia. Jones also led Team USA into the 27th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship that summer.
For his career, Jones holds an overall record of 1080-522-3 in 28 seasons as the head coach of a collegiate baseball program. At Tulane, he is 804-429-2, and in May, he became just one of 12 current collegiate baseball coaches to have achieved 800 wins at their current program.
"It is a true pleasure to have Coach Rick Jones headlining our inaugural SCC Athletic Hall of Fame class," said Sandhills Community College Athletic Director Aaron Denton. "Just as important to the committee as his long list of accomplishments is the way coach achieved his successes. Academics are a proven priority for Coach Jones as are community and charitable efforts. He is an ideal representative for what we will look for in future hall of fame classes so he was a natural selection for the first class."
The Sandhills Community College athletic department was revived in 2009 after years of inactivity, and were renamed the Flyers. Joining Jones in the inaugural class is Ruth Bondurant, Curtis Frye, Don Garner, Pete Garner, Miranda Love, Jim Reid and the 2012 Men's Basketball Team that captured the NJCAA National Championship.
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