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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Auburn to interview North Texas' Johnny Jones

North Texas coach Johnny Jones will interview with Auburn in the upcoming days, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Here's the short story I wrote about him today.

So who is this Jones character anyway? So glad you asked. Here's some things you should know:
  • Jones' Mean Green went 24-9 this season and won the Sun Belt, making it to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last four years. As a 15 seed, North Texas lost to second-seeded Kansas State in the first round 82-62.
  • The 48-year-old Jones is 150-121 in nine seasons at North Texas. That doesn't sound great, but the school doesn't exactly have a proud basketball tradition. In the four seasons prior to Jones' arrival, North Texas won 20 total games.
  • Jones has led the Mean Green to four straight 20-win seasons. The last time North Texas had back-to-back 20-win seasons? 1976-78.
  • His 150 wins are second-most all-time at North Texas, trailing Pete Shands' 224. Shands coached there for 22 years.
  • Want to hear Jones talk? Go to this virtual media guide and watch the intro. It's kind of cool. If you click forward to Jones' bio page, he'll give you some more information on the Mean Green's basketball philosophy (Spoiler: he preaches a family atmosphere. It's as though he stole a page from the Trooper Taylor handbook.)
  • What's his background? Nicknamed "The Bullet," he starred at LSU in the early '80s, leading LSU to the Final Four in 1981. He was an assistant at his alma mater from 1984-97, serving under coach Dale Brown. He was the Tigers' associate head coach from 1994-97. He held the same position at Memphis from 1997-99 and served as the interim head coach during the 1999-2000 season. He was an assistant at Alabama for one season (2000-01) before getting the head coaching job at North Texas.
  • His media guide bio credits him with having helped secure such LSU recruits as Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) and Randy Livingston.
  • Jones signed a contract extension Feb. 19 that stretched his current deal through the 2014-15 season. He makes $200,000 a year, plus incentives.

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