Zeke Jones Hall of Fame Weekend
By Tim Goodenow
WVU Sports Information Office
June 2, 2005
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – What if your resume looked something like this?
Michigan state champion high school wrestler...Three-time NCAA All-American...Four-time World Cup gold medalist...Six-time national champion…1991 World Champion...1992 Olympic silver medalist...voted "Most Technical Wrestler in the World"...2001 national freestyle coach of the year...2004 Olympic freestyle head coach…Huron High School and Arizona State University Athletic Hall of Fame member.
This is the resume of West Virginia University assistant head wrestling coach Zeke Jones. Oh, and did I mention he’s only 38 years old?
Jones will cap off an illustrious wrestling career this weekend in Oklahoma City, Okla., with his induction as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
"Any time you are recognized by your peers, it's very special," says Jones. "So many people have helped me though the years and this is really a tribute to them. I am really a product of the knowledge and experiences of many friends and mentors.”
Jones, one of the youngest inductees all-time, will be joined this weekend by World Champion wrestler Chris Campbell and college coaching legends Bob Bubb and J Robinson.
Jones's induction represents recognition for a life spent working in the sport of wrestling. From winning three Pac-10 championships at Arizona State, to his dominance as a U.S. wrestler, and to his coaching career with USA Wrestling and WVU, Jones’ influence is felt all along the wrestling landscape.
“It is a tremendous honor to be inducted into the national wrestling hall of fame,” says Jones. “It’s hard to put into words how excited I am. It is amazing to think my name will be next to some of the all-time greats like Cliff Keen, Harold Nichols and Dan Gable. It is very humbling.”
Jones learned of his induction from a close friend one early morning this past December. Calling on the other end was Lee Roy Smith, executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“It was almost a phone dropping experience,” explains Jones. “You never expect for that to happen. And for it to come from Lee Roy was very nice. He was actually my boss at Arizona State University for six years when he was the head coach and I was an assistant. It was neat to get a call from him and for our paths to cross again.”
A group of 20 or so family and friends will make the trip for the two-day induction ceremony on June 4-5. Something Jones is very appreciative and a place that is already special for another Jones boy.
“My brother Johnny will be there and actually has his name in the Hall of Fame already,” describes Jones. “He was a two-time junior college national champion. The entire Jones family will be present plus some great friends of mine will be making the trip. My high school coach, Ernie Gillum, will be there. The captain of our national championship team at ASU, Mike Davies, will be there. My good friend Tom Martucci is making the trip. It should be a great weekend for all.”
The Hall of Fame activities begin on Friday night with the presentation of honoree's Hall of Fame plaques. On Saturday, a golf outing is scheduled in the morning; later that evening the 29th Honors Banquet. At that time, each of the new Distinguished Members will give an acceptance speech, as they are recognized for their great achievements in the sport.
“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,” says Jones. “This will be a weekend I will never forget.”
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