Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

A New Era for ODU Men’s Basketball

Cam Easton (Courtesy of ODU Athletics)
Head coach Mike Jones and his wife Stayce pose for a photo with President Brian O. Hemphill and Dr. Wood Selig at his introductory press conference.

Old Dominion University has recently appointed Mike Jones as the 14th head coach in its program’s history. This decision marks the second time that an alumnus has been hired to coach the men’s basketball team. His appointment was more than just a strategic move for the university; it was a reunion of legacy and ambition.

Jones, an Old Dominion alumnus, played for the Monarchs from 1991-1995 and was part of two tournament championship teams. He was also a significant contributor to one of the most significant wins in ODU’s history. Jones is the third African-American head coach in program history, along with Oliver Purnell and the late Jeff Capel.

Jones returns to ODU after spending the previous season as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland. Before joining Maryland, he had a highly successful 19-year stint as the head coach at DeMatha High School in Maryland. In 2021, he joined the college ranks as the associate head coach at Virginia Tech, where he spent two seasons. 

During his tenure at Virginia Tech, the Hokies achieved a 42-28 record. Virginia Tech won its first-ever ACC Tournament Championship in his first season by defeating No. 7 Duke. The Hokies also advanced to the NIT in his second season, recording wins over No. 18 North Carolina and No. 6 Virginia.

Jones has an impressive track record of developing players at the high school level. As the head coach at DeMatha High School, he won nine Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular-season titles, eight WCAC tournament crowns, four Maryland Private School Tournament championships, and one national championship in 2006. 

Nine of his players went on to play in the NBA. Jones has won more than 600 games as a head coach, including those with USA Basketball.

Jones speaking with local media following his press conference. (Cam Easton )

Jones has an extensive history with USA Basketball. He has held various coaching roles with the organization, including leading the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Brazil. Jones has also served as a lead coach at the 2019 USA Men’s Junior National Team July minicamp and as a court coach at the 2019 USA Men’s Junior National Team October minicamp. Moreover, he has been head coach of the USA Nike Hoop Summit team three times and assisted the USA’s Hoop Summit team in 2012 and 2017.

Jones was a two-year starter for the Monarchs, earning All-CAA honors as a senior. He scored 19 points in ODU’s triple-overtime win over No. 3 seed Villanova in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament. Jones was one of the best three-point shooters in Monarch history, having led ODU as a senior with a 42.6% three-point shooting percentage, which ranks as the sixth-best in a single season in program history. His 168 career three-pointers are also the sixth-most in ODU’s history. Jones scored 1,166 career points in 111 games played.

Dr. Wood Selig, ODU’s Director of Athletics, was impressed with Jones during their first interview and knew that he had found the right candidate. He later discussed with ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph., that Jones was the ideal candidate for the job. During the introduction press conference, Jones expressed his enthusiasm for the position and his devotion to the program. 

He stated, “This is the only (college) head coaching job I’ve ever wanted. I’ve always wanted this job.”

Jones’ first performance as ODU’s head coach, was delivered with passion and sincerity. He expressed his love for ODU and his desire “to get this program back where it deserves to be.”

After his appointment, the new head coach, Jones, began reshaping the program by hiring new staff. His first addition was Odell Hodge, appointed as a special assistant to the head coach. Hodge was a remarkable basketball player who completed his career as one of only four Virginia Division I collegians to score over 2,000 career points and grab over 1,000 career rebounds. He was named CAA Player of the Year and Tournament MVP in both 1994 and 1997.

Hodge finished his career at ODU in 1997, with a record of 2,117 points and 1,086 rebounds. In addition, Hodge was named to the CAA’s All-Defensive squad in 1997, ranks 14th all-time in CAA scoring, fourth in career blocked shots with 286, and fifth in CAA history in rebounds. He also received the CAA’s prestigious Dean Ehlers Award in 1997. As a student-athlete, he was highly involved in the Monarch Reachout program.

Over the next several days, Jones announced more additions to his staff, including Matt Hamilton, James Robinson III, and Jamal Robinson as an assistant coach. Hamilton brings his nine-year experience at Hampton University to the Old Dominion staff. He will play a significant role in the planning and execution of the day-to-day basketball operations, student-athlete relationships, player development, recruiting, travel arrangements, scouting reports, and the insurance of academic success for ODU’s student-athletes.

James Robinson joins Old Dominion after a two-year stint on the staff at Delaware. He joined the Blue Hens after a six-year professional playing career in Europe. In his two years with Delaware, the Blue Hens went 36-30 and advanced to the second round of the Coastal Athletic Association Tournament each year. 

Robinson was a standout at the University of Pittsburgh from 2012-2016, starting 135 of his 136 career games as the point guard for the Panthers, and still holds the ACC record for career assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.64 to one. A native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, Robinson tallied 1,115 career points and 604 assists, while garnering All-Academic honors in both the ACC and Big East.

Jones speaking at his press conference announcing his return to Old Dominion as head coach. (Cam Easton )

Putting the final touches on his staff, Jones brought on Ryan Nadeau as an assistant coach. Nadeau joins the Monarchs after a six-year stint on the staff at Virginia Tech. Alongside him, Aidan Brami was hired as Video Coordinator and Assistant Director of Operations. Jason Wade joins the staff as a graduate assistant. Wade played with the Monarchs from 2018-2023 for 107 games in his ODU career, and his experience will be valuable.

The newly appointed coaching staff has brought a fresh perspective to the program’s new direction, but the players’ quality is equally noteworthy. Despite the change in leadership, the three initial commitments made under former head coach Jeff Jones have confirmed their attendance at Old Dominion as of now, but anything could change this offseason. 

Ethan Lathan, a 6 feet 11-inch tall center hailing from Rockford, IL, Deion Ware, a 6-foot-5-inch guard from New Orleans, LA, and a Montverde Academy student, and Caden Diggs, a 6-foot-7-inch talented forward from The Bullis School, make up this exceptional recruiting class. This class is the program’s most successful ever, ranking 29th nationally by 247Sports. 

Additionally, Robert Davis Jr., a 6-foot 6-inch guard who previously played for UMass, will be transferred to the team. He averaged 4.1 points per game in 13.7 average minutes in 29 games played last season. Yesterday, it was announced on social media that Stephaun Walker will also join the roster for the Monarchs next season. The 6-foot-7-inch sophomore transfer from Robert Morris averaged 9.9 PPG and 6.2 RPG last season. He will be another valuable addition to the ODU roster. 

According to reports, the Monarchs are going to experience a significant loss of players due to the transfer portal. Specifically, players Chaunce Jenkins, Bryce Baker, Sam Hood, and Leeroy Odiahi will be leaving the team this offseason. Additionally, Tyrone Williams will be graduating. However, the team is determined to use this as an opportunity for growth and plans to strengthen their roster during the upcoming offseason.

It is currently unclear what this roster will look like for opening night for the Monarchs, and how the new team will be structured. However, there will be several new faces both on and off the court. Despite this turnover, the leadership of Jones, a decorated Monarch player and professional, will undoubtedly guide the team towards success. This transition may prove challenging, but with Jones leading the team, the Monarchs are poised for a promising turnaround. 

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Draper
Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor
Benjamin serves as the Sports Editor for Mace and Crown. He is a junior who majors in Communications, more specifically ‘Media Studies’ along with a minor in Sports Management. He is very excited for the opportunity of leading the sports staff at the Mace & Crown. Since he was 4 years old, Benjamin has wanted to pursue a career in sports media as a Broadcaster/Reporter. On the side, he does broadcasting/production for the ODU Esports program and is Sports Director for WODU Studios. After college, Benjamin hopes to land an opportunity in a sports media role at the professional level whether its a media outlet or sports franchise. You can reach him at

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