• 36°

Cavs coach leaving for college job

Alan Jones, head girls basketball coach at Lakeland for the last three seasons, is leaving Lakeland to take an assistant coach job at Christopher Newport University.

It is the first college coaching position for Jones. He joins a Lady Captain team which went 30-1 last season, with the only loss coming in the round of 16 of the NCAA Div. III Tournament.

When Jones came on at Lakeland, the Lady Cavaliers had won two games and only one Southeastern District game the season prior.

“When I started with Lakeland, the challenge was building a program and getting to a point where the program has some success,” Jones said.

This past winter, the Lady Cavaliers had its best season in their three under Jones, going 8-10 in the district.

His decision to go from Lakeland to CNU was a paradox. “It’s difficult to leave the kids, because there will still be kids here who I’ve been working with,” Jones said.

“I started coaching initially because I missed the game and still wanted to be involved in it. I’ve loved coaching at the high school level, with the competition, the camaraderie, working to teach the game to young people,” Jones said.

Yet, with the opportunity to coach collegiately, Jones feels he has to take it.

“As a coach, you’re always trying to teach kids to set high goals and never been complacent, to always strive to do better,” Jones said.

“There are two sides to it. It’s exciting and a joy to move to the next level, but you always know you’ll miss the kids you’ve coached,” Jones said.

Jones joins the staff of head coach Carolyn Hunter. Hunter’s entering her 12th year at CNU. Last year’s 30-1 record makes her CNU record 213-92. The Lady Captains have made five NCAA Tournament appearances under Hunter.

“Hopefully this is a great opportunity for me to learn,” Jones said. “It’s a chance to join a very successful program.”