Brian Jones was named an assistant coach to Brooks Savage's staff on May 3, 2023.
Jones has 27 years of coaching experience, which includes a 13-year stint as a head coach at the University of North Dakota. Most recently, Jones was an assistant coach at Bradley.
To go with his stops at North Dakota and Bradley, Jones has also coached at Iowa, Illinois State, Nebraska-Omaha and Southwest Missouri State. Jones was an interim head coach for the final seven games of the 2021-22 season at Illinois State.
Spending this past 2022-23 season at Bradley, Jones played a big part in the Braves’ success where they won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title – their first since 1996 – after going 16-4 in league play. Overall, Bradley won 25 games and played in the NIT. Bradley was one of the best defensive teams in the MVC as they ranked second, allowing 62.7 points per game, while also ranking second in rebounding margin (+3.97) and offensive rebounds (9.74).
Jones had a three-year stint as an associate head coach at Illinois State, which saw him take over as interim head coach for the Redbirds’ final seven games of the 2021-22 season. Jones was the offensive coordinator in those three seasons where Illinois State ranked in the top-three in scoring offense in the league over the final two seasons. ISU ranked third in scoring offense in both 2020-21 and 2021-22, while also ranking second in assists in 2020-21 and third in three-point field goal percentage in 2021-22.
Jones spent 13 seasons as the head coach at North Dakota from 2006-19 where he led the Fighting Hawks to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016-17. Jones, who led the program’s transition from Division II to Division I, won three conference tournament titles and made six postseason appearances in his final nine years with North Dakota. Under Jones’ watch, North Dakota won its first ever Great West Conference titles, while also capturing the program’s first regular season and tournament title in the Big Sky Conference. North Dakota went 22-10 in 2016-17, while finishing with a conference mark of 14-4, resulting in its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to the NCAA Tournament berth, North Dakota made five appearances in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament over a six-year run.
At North Dakota, Jones was named 2017 Big Sky and NABC Coach of the Year, while he coached one College Court Report Mid-Major Player of the Year, four Lou Henson Mid-Major All-Americans, four all-district selections and 12 all-conference honorees.
Prior to North Dakota, Jones coached alongside Steve Alford at both Iowa and Southwest Missouri State.
At Iowa, from 1999-2006, the Hawkeyes participated in three NCAA Tournaments and three NITs. To go with the six postseason appearances during Jones’ seven years as an assistant coach at Iowa, the Hawkeyes also captured two Big Ten Tournament crowns. Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament in 2001 and 2006. Overall, a Hawkeye led the Big Ten in boards in four of his final five years, while also having the league’s top shot blocker in three straight campaigns.
Jones spent one season with Alford as an assistant at Missouri State in 1998-99 where the Bears had a magical season. Missouri State went 22-11 in 1998-99 and made the program’s only Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament. As a No. 12 seed, the Bears defeated No. 5 seed Wisconsin in round one and No. 4 seed Tennessee in the second round before falling to top-seeded Duke in the Sweet 16. Missouri State finished that season ranked No. 24 nationally.
Jones, a Rock Island, Ill. native, started his coaching career at Nebraska-Omaha where he spent two seasons between 1996-98.
Jones played at Northern Iowa from 1990-94 and saw action in 104 games, making 22 starts. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1994, Jones played professionally in Australia and Portugal. Jones later went on to receive his master’s in athletic administration from Omaha in 2003.
Jones and his wife, Danna, have two sons, Jaxson and Jonah, and one daughter, Jersey.