Jones Elected Into Hall Of Fame
By Tim Goodenow, WVU Sports Information Office
January 6, 2005
Morgantown, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Zeke Jones, one of the finest wrestling coaches in the country, has been elected into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Jones joins Bob Bubb, Chris Campbell and J Robinson as distinguished members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame class of 2005. The induction ceremony will be held at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., from June 3-5, 2005.
“It's an honor of a lifetime being selected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and this award is a culmination of wonderful experiences in the sport of wrestling,” says Jones on his induction. “There have been a number of influential people who have helped shape me as a wrestler, as a coach and most importantly as a person. I am really a product of the knowledge and experiences of many friends and mentors.”
Jones, who is in his seventh season on the Mountaineer coaching staff, has helped produce 46 NCAA qualifiers, 13 EWL tournament champions, 11 All-Americans and two individual national championships. West Virginia has also won two EWL dual meet championships and two tournament crowns in his time at WVU.
In addition to coaching at WVU, Jones was named to the United States Olympic freestyle coaching staff. The U.S. freestyle wrestlers won three medals (one gold and two silver) at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
“My first U.S. coaching assignment came during my first few months on campus,” says Jones on his time in Morgantown. “It was an opportunity to coach a World Cup team. There was tremendous support from the entire athletic department here at WVU. There were many people like Ed Pastilong and Craig Turnbull, who were supportive of the assignments and made it happen. ”
Jones has coached several U.S. teams including the men's freestyle team that four gold medals at the 2003 Pan American Games. All seven wrestlers on the U.S. squad won medals. He was also head coach when the U.S. World team competed in Sophia, Bulgaria. That team was named the team of the month by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
In 2001, USA Wrestling named Jones freestyle coach of the year. He was also part of the assistant coaching staff for the 2002 U.S. Word Freestyle team that was scheduled to compete in the World Championships in Tehran, Iran.
Jones has excelled as both a coach and clinician, serving as an assistant coach at Arizona State University and Bloomsburg University, before landing his current position with WVU. In April of 2004, he was promoted to assistant head coach for his efforts and dedication the wrestling program.
He has competed all over the world and is recognized as one of the top wrestlers at 114.5 pounds. His list of accomplishments include a silver medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, a gold medal at the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a first-place finish at the 1991 World Freestyle Wrestling championships in Bulgaria.
“Anybody that grows up with a sports background tends to dream big,” says Jones. “I had goals of being in the Olympics. As a kid, I remember being gluded to the television during the Olympics watching wrestling, bobsledding, hockey and all the sports. Any time you have the opportunity to represent your country, at any level, it’s a special and rewarding experience.”
The four-time World Cup gold medalist (1989-1991, 1994, 1995) is a six-time U.S. Open National freestyle champion (1989-91, 1993-94, 1997) and ranked No. 1 in the United States for seven straight years (1989-95). He is one of only two Americans to be honored as the "Most Technical Wrestler in the World" by FILA, the Federation for International Wrestling.
Jones was an assistant coach for the NCAA all-star team that traveled to Europe in the summer of 1999. He was also chosen to be head coach for the 2000 NCAA all-star team and recently worked as an assistant on the 1998 U.S. World Team.
Four years ago, Jones was an assistant coach for the United States teams that competed in the Sydney Olympics and at the Pan-American Games in Colombia.
In the spring of 1998, Jones served as head coach of the World Cup team. He and the U.S. team earned the World Cup Championship with a win over undefeated Iran in the finals, held in Spokane, Wash.
Jones formerly served on advisory boards for the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Wrestling. He has also published a series of instructional videos titled Winning Wrestling Techniques.
Jones made his first U.S. World team while he just a junior at Arizona State University. He won three All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles under coach Bobby Douglas, and as a senior was the NCAA runner-up at 118 pounds. He was also a member of the Arizona State team that won the 1988 NCAA team title.
In the fall of 2004, Jones was inducted into the Arizona State University Athletics Hall of Fame. He was also named one of the Top 100 athletes of all-time as selected by The Arizona Republic.
In July of 2003, Jones was named to the Amateur Wrestling News ASU's Modern-Era Mat Team. Amateur Wrestling News selected Arizona State's wrestling program for a continuing series that looks at the top competitors in a selected program's history. Jones was chosen among the first-team selections at 118/125 pounds.
A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Jones wrestled to a 111-6 record while at Huron High and was a three-time prep All-American. He is a member of the Huron High hall of fame, the Michigan Wrestling hall of fame and was named to the "Dream Team" by Wrestling USA.
Jones shows no signs of slowing down as he also spends time as a club coach with the Sunkist Kids. He recently founded the Sunkist Kids National Training Center at West Virginia University for Olympic hopefuls. This past summer, he married the former Renee Campbell.
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