|Title:||Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach|
James Jones has made quite an impact on the Yale basketball program. In 13 seasons, Jones has guided Yale to success not seen in New Haven in 40 years. In 2001-02, Jones led the Bulldogs to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 and the first postseason tournament victory in the 107-year history of Yale basketball. The team won 21 games, the second most in the modern era of Yale basketball, and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones’ success did not go unnoticed. He was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year by Basketball America and CollegeInsider.com. Following Yale’s weekend sweep of Penn and Princeton, Dick Vitale selected Jones as his Coach of the Week.
Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, earned his 100th victory at Yale when the Bulldogs beat Columbia on Feb. 9, 2007. He is only the fourth coach in school history with at least 100 wins and is currently the second winningest coach in school history. His overall record at Yale entering the 2012-13 season is 176-191, including a 100-82 (.549) mark in Ivy games. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 Ivy games twice during his tenure and have had a fourth-place or better finish in the Ivy League for 12 straight years. Jones has guided Yale to the postseason twice - the 2002 NIT and the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Jones was named Yale’s 22nd head coach on Apr. 27, 1999, and he immediately put his stamp on the program as the Bulldogs more than doubled their Division I win total from the previous season and improved to fifth place in the Ivy League. In 2000-2001 the turnaround continued as Yale entered the final weekend of the regular season in the hunt for the Ivy League championship. The captain of that 2000-01 team, Neil Yanke, signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. Jones recruited Yanke to Yale as an assistant coach and then was his head coach for two years.
In the 2001-02, Jones guided the Bulldogs to one of the most memorable seasons in school history. Yale finished 21-11 and earned a share of the Ivy title with Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs upset Rutgers in the first round of the NIT before falling to Tennessee Tech at the New Haven Coliseum in front of the largest crowd ever to watch Yale Basketball in New Haven. In the process the Bulldogs set five school records. The 2,394 points scored was a new mark, topping the 2,089 scored by the 1948-49 team. The Bulldogs also set new records for three-pointers made (228) and attempted (671), and for most free throws made (558) and attempted (796).
Several of Jones’ players have gone on to play professionally overseas, including Ted Smith (England), Matt Minoff (Israel), Paul Vitelli (Italy), Dominick Martin (Spain), Matt Kyle (Portugal), Caleb Holmes (Iceland), Ross Morin (Switzerland), Eric Flato (England) and Edwin Draughan (France). Draughan, who graduated in 2005, was one of the most successful players in Yale history. He finished seventh all-time at Yale in scoring with 1,413 points and second in steals and fifth in assists.
In addition, five assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Rob Senderoff (Kent State), Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University), Mark Gilbride (Clarkson) and Ted Hotaling (New Haven).
One of Jones’ goals when he took the job was to upgrade Yale’s schedule, a promise he has delivered on. In 2001-02 the Bulldogs finished 1-0 against the Big Ten (Penn State), 1-0 against the ACC (Clemson), 1-0 against the Big East (Rutgers) and 1-1 against the Atlantic 10 (win over Rhode Island, loss to George Washington). In addition, Yale played in the inaugural Guardians Classic, a pre-season tournament. In 2000-01, Penn State became the first Big Ten school to play in the Payne Whitney Gym, and in 2003-04 Wake Forest came to Connecticut to play the Bulldogs at The Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. Yale hosted Pac-10 power Stanford to open the 2008-09 season before a capacity crowd at the John J. Lee Amphitheater and later in the season beat Oregon State, the school’s first win ever over a Pac-10 opponent.
Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova’s Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team. He helped tutor Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert, Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel and Indiana’s D.J. White. In 2006, Jones was selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, as a court coach for the 2006 USA Men’s U18 National Team Trials.
Jones also has served as a guest analyst on the CBS College Sports Television Network on a number of occasions.
In addition to his coaching duties, Jones has been active in the New Haven community. Each summer he runs the James Jones Bulldog Basketball Camp. In 2002 he was the recipient of the President’s Award from the Greater New Haven NAACP at its 85th Freedom Fund dinner.
As an assistant coach at Yale for two seasons from 1995-97, Jones gained a great understanding of Ivy League basketball. He returned to Yale as head coach after two years as an assistant coach at Ohio University, where he was primarily responsible for coordinating the Bobcats’ recruiting efforts and developing the post players. In 1998-99 he helped guide Ohio to an 18-10 overall record and a berth in the Mid American Conference Tournament semifinals. At Ohio, he recruited Brandon Hunter, who was a second round pick of the Boston Celtics in the 2002 NBA draft.
A Long Island, N.Y., native, Jones served as an assistant basketball coach for five seasons (1990-95) at his alma mater, the University at Albany (N.Y.). In his final two coaching seasons at Albany, he helped lead the team to a 44-11 record and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including reaching the Elite Eight in 1993-94. His primary responsibilities included recruiting, scouting, supervising the fall conditioning program and advising team members on academic matters. The team was 93-40 during his five seasons on the bench.
Jones graduated from Albany in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and in 1995 earned his master’s in educational administration. As a player at Albany, Jones was captain of the freshman team and was selected as the team’s Freshman of the Year. He played for and coached with the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only seven collegiate coaches to win more than 700 games.
Jones is an active member of several organizations, including the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the New York State Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association.
Before entering the coaching profession, Jones served as an executive account manager at NCR Corporation in Albany, N.Y., where he managed a $1.5 million sales territory.
James’ younger brother Joe spent seven seasons the head coach at Ivy League rival Columbia and is currently the head coach at Boston University.
Matt Kingsley begins his eighth year as a member of James Jones' staff in 2012-13.
Kingsley works primarily with the guards. A number of his pupils have had great success. Eric Flato ‘08 graduated second all-time at Yale in three-point field goals made (213) and 13th in school history in scoring (1,193 points). Alex Zampier '10 is Yale's all-time leader with 167 career steals and is in the top 10 in career free throw percentage (4th, .816) and career three-pointers (8th, 135). Zampier was drafted by the New Mexico Thunderbirds in the 2010 NBA Development League. Reggie Willhite '12 is the school's single-season steals leader and was the 2012 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
Prior to coming to Yale, Kingsley was the associate head coach at Eastern Connecticut. During his tenure at Eastern, Kingsley helped the team improve from 7-19 in 2003 to 14-12 in 2004, including a school record eight conference wins. At Eastern, Kingsley worked under head coach Bill Geitner, who has guided the Warriors to a Little East Conference Championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
Prior to serving at Eastern Connecticut, Kingsley was a post graduate men's basketball coach at Saint Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn., where he worked for legendary head coach Jere Quinn. In 2001, he helped coach the team to a 31-3 record and the New England Prep School Class A Championship. He also spent one season as an assistant coach at Clarkson University where the team had the second most wins in school history and earned the first post-season berth in school history.
Kingsley is a 1998 graduate of Wesleyan University where he was a standout for the basketball team. His 191 three-pointers still ranks first all time in school history and his 1,176 points was second all-time when he graduated and currently stands fourth all time. He also served as a team captain.
A New Haven native, Kingsley attended Notre Dame-West Haven High School, the same school that produced two-time first team All-Ivy standout Greg Mangano, who graduated Yale in 2012. At Notre Dame, Kingsley played for legenday head coach Gary Palladino, who is the President of the CIAC High School Coaches Association and has won more than 500 games in his career.
Kingsley and his wife Makaela reside in Hamden with their daughter Amelia and son Eli.
Jamie Snyder-Fair returns for his third year on the Yale staff in 2012-13. He coaches Yale's frontcourt and helped tutor Greg Mangano '12, who became Yale's all-time leader in career blocked shots and was a two-time first team All-Ivy selection.
Snyder-Fair came to Yale from Washington & Lee where he helped the team make its first appearance in the ODAC championship game in 20 years in 2008-09. In his one season at W&L, the Generals won 16 games, their most since 1988-89.
Prior to Washington & Lee, Snyder-Fair was an assistant coach at Vassar where he helped the Brewers to 18 wins, which tied the school record. He also spent two years as an assist at Amherst. During his tenure, the Lord Jeffs had a 58-6 overall record, advanced to two NCAA Division III Final Fours and captured the 2007 NCAA Championship. Snyder-Fair coached a pair of NABC All-Americans, including Andrew Olson, the 2007 National Co-Player of the Year.
Snyder-Fair is a 2005 graduate of Colby College, where he was a four-year letterwinner for the men's basketball team.
Justin Simon '04, a four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs, begins his season season on James Jones' staff in 2012-13.
During his playing career, Simon appeared in 82 games and scored 243 points. In his last two years, he served as the team's sixth man. As a senior, he appeared in all 27 games, averaging 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds. As a junior he was the recipient of the Eggie Miles Award as the team's top free throw shooter and was named to the all-tournament team at the Phoenix Classic after scoring 13 points in the championship game victory over Central Connecticut.
In the summer following his freshman year at Yale, Simon was an intern in the Special Events Department at Madison Square Garden and was backstage at the NBA Draft.
Simon returned to Yale after serving as an assistant coach and teacher at Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City. During his tenure, Simon helped develop Angel Nunez, who is a freshman at Louisville. Hayes reached the CHSAA Class A final in each of the last two years.
Following graduation from Yale, Simon worked as a financial advisor for three years.
A native of Kings Park High School, Simon was an All-Long Island, all-county, all-conference and all-league selection at Kings Park High School.