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College of Central Florida hires Tommy Jones as WBB coach
 August 23, 2013

When he was coaching the women's basketball program at  Hillsborough Community College, Tommy Jones always respected the way things were done at the College of Central Florida.

"I looked at them and said 'I want my program to be just like theirs because (then-CF head) coach (Cheryl) Rice did such a great job," Jones said.

Now, he won’t have to admire the program from afar.

Jones was hired Friday as the CF women’s head basketball coach. He replaces Sharrona Reaves, who resigned earlier this year after one season to take an assistant job at the University of West Virginia.

"I'm very excited to have this opportunity and be part of a program that has a lot of tradition," Jones said. "I'm excited to have the chance (to work with CF athletic director  Bob Zelinski) and be a part of (CF). All of (CF's athletic) programs are doing well and (Zelinski) does a great job managing things."

Jones, a former head coach at HCC from 2008-2011, comes to CF from the University of Tampa where he had been an assistant women's coach since 2011.

"I learned a lot at Tampa," he said. "We were undefeated at one point (last season) and ranked tenth in the country (in Division II) at one point and we had a good year, but there's nothing like having your own program and being a head coach.

"I prefer to run, but I want to have a versatile team. The main thing is the results you get, so we will go out and do whatever we have to do in order to win."

Jones has been well-versed in both men’s and women’s basketball during his nearly 25 years of coaching, which also includes time coaching strength-and-conditioning.

"He brings to us a wealth of knowledge and experience and has a contagious enthusiasm for the game," Zelinski said. "He has proven abilities to coach women's basketball and has a great deal of experience coaching in Florida and in our conference.

"I am confident he will continue the level of excellence we expect from our student-athletes both on-and-off the court."

Jones will have the chance to lead the Patriots back to the playoffs after a two-year absence in the always-tough MFC, which still features his former school, HCC.

While coaching at HCC, Jones helped the Hawks to a 67-42 record and led the program to consecutive trips to the state tournament.

The Hawks, who had won less than eight games in each of the previous six seasons before Jones took over, were co-conference champions in his second season and set the school record for wins in a season that year with 23.

"The girls and I turned things around there with discipline and self-pride and a lot of hard work," he said. "They really took a lot of pride in what we were trying to do.

"I really like smart players who want to compete. I like to press and run, but it is all about situational play. We will do what we have to do in order to be successful."

Under Jones' watch at HCC, 10 players moved on to play at the NCAA Division I and II levels. He also coached three conference players of the year and two McDonald's All-Americans at HCC.

Aside from his time coaching the women's programs at HCC and UT, Jones has held coaching jobs at HCC (assistant men’s basketball coach, 2005-07), The Cambridge School (assistant girls basketball coach, 2001-05), Tampa Catholic High School (assistant girls basketball coach, 1999-2001), Saint Peter Claver Catholic School (boys basketball coach, 1999-2000) and Tampa Prep (assistant boys basketball coach, 1991-99).

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