Radford hiring away VCU's Jones

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Shaka Smart is returning to VCU for one more year, but he will not have his entire staff coming with him.  Rams assistant coach Mike Jones was hired at Radford University Tuesday, becoming their head men's basketball coach.

Jones will be officially introduced Wednesday at 11 am. The Highlanders went 5-24 last season, and fired Seth Greenberg's brother Brad after the season was over.

The 45-year-old was the veteran on Shaka Smart's staff, and spent the last two seasons at VCU. Jones's previous stop was his longest, a six-year stint on Dennis Felton's staff at Georgia from 2003-09.

Despite the NCAA sanctions that held Jones and his fellow coaches under wraps for six years, Georgia managed an 87-100 record and three postseason berths in six seasons. The crowning achievement of Jones' stay with the Bulldogs came in 2008, when sixth-seeded Georgia won four games in three days to complete the most improbable SEC Tournament run in history.

In addition to Georgia, Jones had previously worked under John Beilein at Richmond from 2000-2002 and during the early stages of his rebuilding project at West Virginia in 2002-2003. Prior to coming to the Rams, Jones has been working to turn around programs in distress. So when the opportunity to work at VCU arose, he jumped at the chance.

Jones's father was a star guard in the ABA and the family moved from New Orleans to Memphis to Utah between 1967 and 1974. In 1974, Jimmy Jones signed with the Bullets in the NBA, where he remained until a torn ACL ended his career in 1977. After his retirement, the Joneses stayed in nearby Silver Spring, MD.

In 1994, Jones took his first collegiate job – at his alma mater, Howard University. He later moved onto to Furman, where he stayed from 1997-2000. He joined Beilein's staff at Richmond in 2000 and helped the Spiders to a pair of 20-win seasons and three straight NIT berths.

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