Mississippi College Dedicates Mike Jones Basketball Court
December 22, 2008Mike Jones Court is the new name of the basketball floor at Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum with former players, coaches and friends joining dedication ceremonies January 10 to spotlight the successful MC coach and athletic director.
The tribute to Jones begins with a 1:00 p.m. reception for former players and their families at the Moody Adams Field House followed by the court dedication at 2:45 p.m. That event on the Clinton campus follows the Lady Choctaws basketball game against the University of Mary Hardin Baylor or 30 minutes before the men's team takes on the UMHB Crusaders.
Former Choctaw star Tyler Winford, a 2008 graduate enrolled as a first-year student at the University of Mississippi Medical School in Jackson, will be among the speakers. Others to heap praise on Jones include retired MC administrator Doc Quick, former Choctaws basketball standout Francisco Wilson and Don Lofton, current coach of the men's team. President Lee Royce will present Jones with a plaque at the ceremonies.
Quick helped lure Jones to MC after the New Hebron native enjoyed several stellar seasons as a coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, including a state championship. "At my age, I have seen a lot of basketball in Mississippi," Quick said. "Mike Jones can coach with the best."
A fixture at MC Choctaws home games in Clinton, Quick added: "I take a lot of pride in seeing one of my basketball recruits accomplish what Mike Jones has in his lifetime."
Others in the MC family say the newest honor for Jones is well-deserved.
"Mike has faithfully served Mississippi College as a player, coach and athletic director," said Bill Townsend, vice president for advancement and legal counsel to President Royce. "The court that bears his name will be a reminder to all his faithfulness to serve his alma mater."
In his eighth year as athletic director at Mississippi College, Jones has helped build the program into one of the best in the American Southwest Conference. During 20 years as head basketball coach at MC and earlier at Copiah-Lincoln, his record stands at 446-131, an amazing .780 winning percentage. He led the Choctaws to 14 straight winning seasons, including five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances at his alma mater from 1998 to 2002.
Jones has also helped pump up MC athletic programs through such events as the annual Wild Game Dinner that raised more than $100,000 in December. Under his leadership, the athletic department has raised more than $1 million for the addition of an artificial playing surface to the football field and new surrounding track in 2006.
A 1975 MC graduate with a bachelor's degree in education and master's of education in school administration in 1977, Jones is a consistent winner on and off the court. He's mentor and role model to young people who has served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Clinton.
Last year, Jones was profiled in "Victories in Metro Jackson" magazine by editor and writer Robert Wilson, a former Clarion-Ledger sports reporter. The story quoted Tyler Winford who said "With Coach Jones, God comes before everything. He has a desire for you to be successful and it shows through his faith."
Jones has also worked as an assistant under former University of Southern Mississippi basketball coach M.K. Turk, who's been invited to the ceremonies.
Family is also a solid cornerstone in the life of the MC Hall of Fame coach. He and his wife, Jane, have two children, Michael and Mandy, and are proud grandparents.
The newly named floor for Jones will add even more luster to the A.E. Wood Coliseum that was renovated to include new chair-back seats, and more improvements are on the way.
Fans wanting to send a special message to Coach Jones should go to www.mc.edu/alumni/membership/mclub/dedication. For more information, contact Lori Bobi at the MC alumni affairs office at 601.925.3252.