UND extends Jones’ contract by 3 yearsGRAND FORKS — University North Dakota coach Brian Jones led the men’s basketball program through the difficult five-year transition to Division I.
By: Wayne Nelson, The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS — University North Dakota coach Brian Jones led the men’s basketball program through the difficult five-year transition to Division I.
His program won two conference postseason titles and played in back-to-back CollegeInsider.com tournaments. Now, Jones will be asked to lead UND as it prepares for competition on a bigger stage — the Big Sky Conference.
To help with that challenge, UND announced Tuesday that it has signed Jones to a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2014-15 season. The deal also includes a pair of options that could extend Jones through the 2016-17 season.
His base salary will be $86,334.
“Heading into the Big Sky, we’re going to need that added boost of job security,” Jones said. “The league in itself will be enough of a challenge in finding out what it takes to compete night in and night out.
“It’s a great day for our program and our staff as we continue to move forward and build our brand and niche with this new conference.”
In its final two years of the transition, UND won Great West Conference postseason tournament titles and advanced to the CollegeInsider tournament, where it was competitive with both Air Force and Drake.
Jones led UND to 36 wins over the past two seasons, including a personal-high 19 during the 2010-11 season.
“Coach Jones is committed to taking this team to the next level,” said UND athletic director Brian Faison. “Particularly in the past two seasons, with back-to-back Great West Conference Tournament championships and two straight appearances in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, we have seen significant progress. We want to continue that progress in a clearly more competitive environment — the Big Sky Conference.”
UND will hit the Big Sky with experience.
Five of UND’s top six scorers from last season’s 17-win team will be juniors for the 2012-13 season.
The Big Sky provides UND basketball its biggest opportunity since the school decided to move up to Division I five years ago.
“The end goal is competing for league titles and getting into the NCAA tournament,” Jones said.
UND is now eligible for NCAA postseason play in all sports.
The announcement regarding Jones’ contract extension came a day after UND extended football coach Chris Mussman’s contract by three years.
It’s expected that other UND coaches will have their contracts extended in the upcoming days.