Tony Jones is currently in his sixth season as an associate head coach at Tennessee and his 10th year on Bruce Pearl's coaching staff.
The Detroit, Mich., native led the Volunteers to five straight Southeastern Conference victories during an eight-game stretch that saw him assume the role of acting head coach in Pearl's absence for the first half of the 2011 league schedule.
"Tony has prepared himself to be a head coach," Pearl said. "His experience provides him with a wealth of knowledge, and his ability to communicate has made him an effective teacher."
Jones more than proved that as he guided UT to consecutive victories over Vanderbilt, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn. Four of those triumphs came on the road, and two (Vanderbilt and Georgia) came against opponents in the top 50 of the RPI.
At the conclusion of Jones' successful eight-game stint as acting head coach, Tennessee ranked near the top of the SEC in numerous statistical categories during conference play: first in offensive rebounding (16.3); second in scoring defense (62.6), rebounding (40.2), rebounding defense (32.0), rebounding margin (+8.2), assists (14.5) and steals (8.1); and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1).
As associate head coach, Jones' primary responsibilities at Tennessee include recruiting, scheduling and working with the Vols' perimeter players. An instrumental force in landing some of the influential players in his team's successes, he has made in-roads to signing a number of the top players in the nation. Twice during his tenure at Tennessee, Jones helped the Vols sign recruiting classes ranked among the top 10 in the nation. Those classes have included the likes of first-team All-SEC performer Wayne Chism and McDonald's All-Americas Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris.
With Jones helping to build its annual slate of opponents, Tennessee's schedules have ranked among the nation's toughest. The Vols have faced--and beaten--many of the country's premier programs, including teams such as Villanova, Memphis, Gonzaga, Texas, Pitt, Ohio State and Kansas.
Along with such ambitious scheduling--Tennessee's average year-end RPI over the last five seasons is an SEC-best 12.4--comes prominent national exposure, as UT has played 74 games on national television over the past five years.
Jones came to Tennessee with 12 years of collegiate coaching experience after spending four seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) as an associate head coach. Prior to joining the UWM staff, Jones spent five seasons at Toledo and three years at Buffalo.
In his 17 seasons of collegiate coaching, Jones has helped direct his teams to 10 postseason tournament bids, including seven NCAA Tournament appearances the last eight years. Four times (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010) in the past six years he has coached teams appearing in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament--and the Vols advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history last season.
Tennessee has experienced unprecedented success during the five years with Jones on the bench. The Vols have averaged 25.2 wins during those seasons and have won three SEC Eastern Division championships. The 2008 team captured the overall SEC title outright for the first time in 41 years, won a school record 31 games and earned the first No. 1 ranking in school history.
Each of his five seasons at UT has resulted in NCAA Tournament appearances, including three trips to the Sweet 16. Two times the Vols have received No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament--the highest in school history.
After helping sign a class that was ranked sixth nationally in 2006, Jones was named one of the top recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com. In 2007, Rivals.com ranked Jones as one of the top-five assistant coaches in the nation.
Jones got his first taste of coaching at his alma mater, Detroit Southwestern High School, where he served as an assistant varsity coach while also serving as head junior varsity coach from 1986-91. During this time he coached future NBA stars Jalen Rose (Phoenix Suns), Howard Eisley (Denver Nuggets) and Voshon Lenard (Portland Trailblazers), leading them to the mythical USA TODAY national title in 1991. He also served as head coach of Team AAU Michigan for three years (1991-93), posting a 35-1 record and capturing two AAU state championships.
Jones was an All-City star at Southwestern and went on to earn All-Conference honors at Fisk University in Nashville. He earned a bachelor's degree in health care administration from Concordia (Mich.) University.
Jones and his wife, Pam, have four children--Tony II, Jamaal, Mercedes and Porscha. His brother, Bill, is a former member of the NBA's New Jersey Nets.