Brian Jones inks four-year contract extension at North Dakota

Photo Courtesy North Dakota Athletics

University of North Dakota athletics director Brian Faison announced Thursday that head men’s basketball coach Brian Jones has signed a contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. With the extension, the Rock Island, Ill., native is set to embark on his 12th season as UND’s head coach in 2017-18.

This past season, Jones led the Fighting Hawks to their first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance after capturing the program’s first Big Sky regular season and tournament championships. The regular season title helped UND become the first league institution to win volleyball, football and men’s and women’s basketball titles in the same season.

The Fighting Hawks’ 22 wins were also the most for the program since moving to the DI level prior to the 2008-09 season and most by any UND team since the 1999-2000 team led by Rich Glas won 23 games.

“This was an historic season for Fighting Hawks men’s basketball as a Division I program, not only on the court, but in the classroom as well,” Faison said. “We are excited to have Coach Jones continue at the helm moving the program forward.”

“I also want to thank Coach Jones, his staff and student-athletes for their patience in this contract process. There were significant campus-wide budget issues to navigate and some contractual items that needed to be clarified to finalize the process.”

The new contract extension includes a salary pool increase for Jones’ assistant coaches.

“First, I want to thank President Kennedy and Brian Faison for the opportunity to continue to lead this program,” Jones said. “This is a place that I am deeply-invested in and that is not just UND, but the entire community of Grand Forks.

“I’ve cherished the time I’ve been given to build this program’s DI tradition and I look forward to the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead. That will be easier because I’m surrounded by a great staff and a talented group of young men. We will continue to do our best to make UND and this community proud.”

Jones currently ranks fourth on UND’s all-time wins list with 166 and has led the program to postseason play in six of the past seven seasons. The 2017 Big Sky Tournament title was the third DI conference tournament title won by Jones and he owns a 15-6 record in conference tournament play during his UND tenure.

The reigning Big Sky Coach of the Year’s program has produced a pair of two-time Lou Henson All-Americans in the past five seasons with both Troy Huff (2013-15) and Quinton Hooker (2015-17) earning that accolade in back-to-back seasons.

The 2016-17 season was also a successful year off the court for the Fighting Hawks, who registered their highest single-year Academic Progress Rate score with a perfect 1,000 and had eight players post a 3.0 GPA or higher in the spring semester. Senior Quinton Hooker and sophomore Conner Avants also landed on the 2017 All-Big Sky Winter Academic Team.

Jones’ team also captured the athletic department’s Male Team Community Service Award for this past academic year after logging 386.5 hours in community service (nearly 26 hours per student-athlete).

Jones and his team volunteered for a number of different organizations throughout the year, including Samaritans Feet. That philanthropic organization named Jones the 2016 Barefoot Coach of the Year for his years of service in helping provide socks and shoes for those less fortunate in and around the Grand Forks community.

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