OFFICIAL: Jakus named Head Basketball Coach at Florida Atlantic

Following up on earlier reports…Florida Atlantic has made the hiring of Baylor Associate Head Coach John Jakus official. Here’s the statement that FAU released:

Florida Atlantic University announced Wednesday that John Jakus has been named the school’s head men’s basketball coach. The associate head coach at Baylor, Jakus comes to Boca Raton after spending the last 12 seasons on staff at both Baylor and Gonzaga.

Jakus signed his agreement Wednesday night and will be officially introduced to the Florida Atlantic community with a press conference on Friday at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. More details on the press conference will follow on Thursday.

One of the most highly-regarded assistant coaches in the nation, Jakus has spent his entire collegiate coaching career under two of the game’s most successful head coach in Baylor’s Scott Drew and Gonzaga’s Mark Few. 

“When we began this search, we spoke to coaches, athletic directors, administrators, scouts, and agents, and the name that kept coming up with glowing reviews was John Jakus,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White. “He checks so many boxes in what we’re looking for to enhance and build on the momentum in our program. His pedigree, learning from two of the greatest coaches in the game today, is unmatched. John is a tireless worker who cares deeply for his players and has an innate understanding of the current landscape in college athletics. He is a winner and is passionate about doing it the right way. I’m so thrilled, on behalf of President Stacy Volnick and our Board of Trustees, to welcome John, his wife Sara, and their children Brady, Cal, and Harper to the FAU family.”

On Drew’s staff for a total of nine seasons, and the associate head coach at Baylor since 2022, Jakus has helped lead the Bears’ national resurgence. Highlighted by the program’s 2021 National Championship title, Baylor has compiled a 217-86 overall record, a 100-58 mark in Big 12 Conference play, six NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 appearances with Jakus on staff.

The team’s back-to-back Big 12 titles in 2021 and 2022 were the program’s first conference crowns since 1950 as Baylor became just the third conference team in history to repeat as champions. Both seasons resulted in a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament for Baylor.

“We are thrilled to welcome John and his family to the Florida Atlantic family,” said President Stacy Volnick. “This is a tremendous time for the men’s basketball team and I have every confidence John will continue this program’s phenomenal trajectory.”

A coach with strong international ties, the 48-year-old Jakus gained extensive experience as a professional coach in Europe prior to joining the Baylor staff in 2012. He was head coach and assistant general manager of ABA Strumica in Macedonia (2010-11) and also worked with Athletes in Action as volunteer head coach for both NCAA and professional basketball trips and as international basketball head coach and director from 2005 to 2014.

He spent three seasons with Gonzaga as director of operations (2014-17) before being hired by Drew again in 2017 as an assistant coach at Baylor.

“This is such a special moment for me, my wife Sara, and my children Brady, Cal, and Harper,” said Jakus. “I’m both honored and humbled to be the head coach at Florida Atlantic University. I want to extend my sincere thanks to President Stacy Volnick, Director of Athletics Brian White and the Board of Trustees for their belief in me and my vision for the future of the Owls. This program has been in such great hands, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Dusty May, his staff, and the players have accomplished. FAU has been one of the best teams in the nation the last two years and I am so fortunate to carry on that tradition.”

Baylor’s recent pedigree of championship success has also produced some of the game’s top players. Entering 2023-24, with Jakus’ assistance, Baylor has had guards win All-America honors in four straight seasons (Jared Butler in 2020 and 2021, Davion Mitchell in 2021, MaCio Teague in 2021, James Akinjo in 2022 and Adam Flagler in 2023). 

Butler became the first consensus first-team All-American in program history and earned Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors. Mitchell swept the National Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Additionally, since his arrival at Baylor, the Bears have had five selections in the NBA Draft including three straight lottery picks (Davion Mitchell —9th in 2021, Jeremy Sochan —9th in 2022 and Keyonte George — 16th in 2023). The Bears are the only program with three players picked in the top 16 over the last three seasons. BU’s 11 selections since 2012 are the 10th most nationally during that span.

With Jakus on staff, Baylor has consistently been among the nation’s best offensive teams. Baylor and Gonzaga are the only two teams nationally to rank in the top five in three of the last four years. Baylor and Gonzaga are the only two with a top-10 offense in four straight years, entering 2023-24.

An accomplished recruiter, Jakus has helped Baylor land two top-five classes (three top-15 classes) over the last four seasons. Baylor and Duke are the only two programs that have top-five recruiting classes in both 2023 and 2024. That span has included four McDonald’s All-Americans on the Waco campus, including VJ Edgecomb, Ja’Kobe Walter, Keyonte George and Kendall Brown.

He has also helped Baylor land some of top names from the portal with the addition of eight Division I transfers in the last four years, highlighted by Pac 12 first-team selection James Akinjop from Arizona, MaCio Teague from UNC Asheville, Adam Flagler from Presbyterian and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who transferred from UNLV to Baylor and was the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

A Chicago native, Jakus graduated from Trinity International University with a Bachelor of Science in religious studies in 1999. He earned a master’s degree in sport management from Baylor in 2014. Jakus and his wife, Sara, have three children — sons Brady and Cal and daughter Harper.

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