“I’m excited to announce the addition of Donnie Jones to our staff,” Grant said. “He brings a level of familiarity to our culture and to our style of play. He will fit extremely well on our staff, and connect quickly with our players. He is a tremendous relationship guy. My relationship with Donnie spans over 20 years. We worked together for 12 years at Marshall and Florida.
“Our relationship runs deep, but it is who he is as a person and a coach that makes me happy he is now part of our Dayton basketball family. He has been a college coach for 29 years, nine of those as a head coach. He knows what it takes to be successful. He has a great knowledge of the game, will bring a veteran voice to our program, and has recruiting connections all over the country.”
Jones, 52, has worked in college basketball since 1988. His connection with Grant dates back to the 1994-95 season when they were together on Billy Donovan’s Marshall staff. They both moved the University of Florida with Donovan in 1996. Grant and Jones were part of eight consecutive Gator NCAA appearances (including a national championship season in 2006) before Grant left to become the head coach at VCU.
Jones stayed one more season at Florida (and was part of another national championship) before returning to Marshall to be its head coach. In three seasons at Marshall (2007-10), he guided the Thundering Herd to their first winning season in seven years, their first postseason berth in 22 years and their first postseason win in 33 years.
He was then named head coach at the University of Central Florida. Among the milestones he led the Knights to in his six seasons (2010-16) at UCF were three 20-win seasons, the program’s first two post-season berths and UCF’s first national ranking.
In 29 seasons as a college basketball coach, Jones has been a part of more than 600 wins. That includes 158 in nine years as a Division I head coach, and 25 last year in his one season as an assistant at Wichita State.
“I am humbled and honored to join Coach Anthony Grant and the Dayton Basketball family,” Jones said. “To have the opportunity to come into a great basketball tradition and help grow a program like we have here at the University of Dayton is exciting.
“There are not many times in life that you get to go to work with your best friends. I’ve had a great relationship with Coach Grant for 24 years and we have shared success on some of college basketball biggest stages together. It’s great to be here at the University of Dayton with great people and great coaches.”
The Point Pleasant, W. Va., native began his coaching career at his alma mater of Pikeville College (now the University of Pikeville) in Pikeville, Ky. After setting a program record with 513 assists, he served as an assistant coach at Pikeville for two seasons. He then went to Marshall as a graduate assistant for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns.
He was elevated to assistant coach in 1992 and was on staff when Donovan came to Marshall. Jones was retained and joined Grant as an assistant coach on Donovan’s first staff. They all went to Florida in 1996 and the tremendous success in Gainesville led to Jones’ head coaching tenures at Marshall and UCF. Jones was a college scout for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2016-17 before returning to coaching at Wichita State last season.
In addition to 12 seasons working with Anthony Grant, Jones has working relationships with two other members of the Dayton basketball staff. He worked in various capacities for 10 years at Florida with Darren Hertz, who is Dayton’s Assistant to the Head Coach. And in his final season at UCF, Jones hired current Flyer assistant Ricardo Greer as his Director of Player Development.
Jones earned his bachelor’s degree in business education from Pikeville in 1988. He is a member of his alma mater’s athletic Hall of Fame. He also earned his master’s in sport management from Marshall in 1992. Donnie and his wife Michelle have three children – Madisyn, Isaac and Sophie.