Acting Head Coach Joseph Jones Named WAC Coach of the Year

Jones tallied a 21-6 record during his time as the program’s leader in 2023-24


STEPHENVILLE — After starting the season in his fourth year as assistant coach with Tarleton State, Joseph Jones has been named the WAC Coach of the Year as announced by the league office on Monday.

Jones earns the honor in his first season as a head coach after taking over four games into the season. He becomes the first coach in the WAC to win the award without starting the season with the head job. Of the nine current head coaches in the nation who did not start the season as the leader of the program, Jones has amassed the most wins. His and Gillispie’s success led Tarleton State to the highest finish of any WAC school having multiple head coaches throughout the season.

Following Tarleton State’s opening four games of the campaign, head coach Billy Gillispie had to be away from the team due to medical circumstances and had Jones fill in for him. Jones has been at the helm of the Texans since Nov.19 and has tallied an impressive 21-6 record during his time standing on the sidelines. Jones was the head coach during each conference game totaling a 16-4 record.

Jones has led the Texans to their highest WAC Tournament seed since being eligible for the postseason tournament last season. He has guided the Texans to a 23-win season, their most in the D1 era, and 20th 20-win season in program history. The Purple and White’s 16 conference wins are the most by the program in any conference in school history. In their fourth year of reclassification, the team’s 23 wins is the most by a current reclassifying school this season and second most since 2010.

Jones becomes the second coach to win a conference of the year honor at Tarleton State in any conference since 2000. Longtime coach and current Athletic Director Lonn Reisman was named Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year five times. Coach Gillispie earned WAC Coach of the Year during his time with UTEP during the 2003-04 season making Tarleton State the only current program to have two WAC Coach of the Year recipients on their staff this season.

After making his head coaching debut on Nov. 20, Jones joins five other coaches to win WAC Coach of the Year in their first year as a D1 head coach. Current Seattle U head coach Chris Victor was the last to do it, earning the title in his first season in 2021-22. Jones is one of nine coaches to win the award in his first season as a WAC head coach.

Jones earns his first honor as a coach, but awards are not new to him. The former Texas A&M standout enjoyed an illustrious career and earned All-Big 12 honors in each of his four seasons with the Aggies. Jones garnered national attention highlighted by landing on the cover of a 2008 edition of Sports Illustrated during his final collegiate season. He was inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame in 2019. After college, he spent 14 seasons playing professionally overseas. Jones returned to Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic and accepted a coaching job with the Texans on Jan. 4, 2021. Just over three years later, Jones has made a name for himself on the bench with 2023-24 WAC Coach of the Year added to his impressive list of accolades.

Jones will make his WAC Tournament coaching debut on Friday night as the Texans earned the second seed in this week’s WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. Tarleton will open play in the semifinals on Friday night at 10:30 pm CT / 8:30 pm PT in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.

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