ASSISTANT COACH NAMED FINALIST FOR 2004
OLYMPIC COACHING POSITION
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (November 4, 2003) - West Virginia assistant wrestling coach Zeke Jones has recently been named a finalist on the freestyle coaching staff for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, as announced by USA Wrestling today.
"It's an honor to be named a finalist for the U.S. Olympic coaching position," says Jones. "To help prepare our athletes for the Olympic games is an important assignment. It is a great time for American wrestlers as we prepare for Athens, Greece."
The Freestyle Coach Selection Committee selected the following candidates for men's freestyle wrestling: Tom Brands of Iowa City, Iowa; Bruce Burnett of Annapolis, Md.; Bobby Douglas of Ames, Iowa; Mark Manning of Lincoln, Neb., and Jones.
"The goal is to win seven Olympic gold medals. To win gold medals, preparation will be the key. The coaching staff will make sure we are the most prepared country at the Olympic games."
The finalists were selected by the appropriate coach selection committee for that discipline. Each of the candidates will be interviewed by the selection committee in depth. The selection of the Olympic coaching staff are expected to be made by mid-December, after the committee's selections are presented to the USA Wrestling Executive Committee. This selection will be final pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Jones was the Assistant Coach for the 2001 U.S. Freestyle World Team. After the attack of September 11, the World Championships were moved from New York to Bulgaria and head coach Mark Manning could not attend the World Championships. Jones assumed additional responsibility, serving as head coach. The U.S. placed fifth in the team standings and featured a pair of silver medallists.
Jones was head coach of the 2003 Pan American Games Team, which won the team title and captured four individual gold medals. He was also on the U.S. coaching staff for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.
He served as head coach for the 1998 and 2000 World Cup teams, both of which won the team title. He was also assistant coach of the 2001 U.S. World Cup team, also the team champions. He was a coach with the 2000 Pan American Championships team. Jones was named 2001 Freestyle Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling.
Jones has worked as an assistant wrestling coach for the West Virginia since 1998. The Mountaineers have developed three NCAA finalists during his tenure, and has twice placed in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships. He has also served assistant coaching stints at Bloomsburg Univ. and at Arizona State Univ. He is a club coach with the Sunkist Kids.
Jones was one of the greatest freestyle wrestlers in U.S. history. He won a World gold medal at 114.5 pounds at the 1991 World Championships in Varna, Bulgaria. Jones also claimed an Olympic silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Jones added a World bronze medal at the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, Ga.
He placed fourth in the 1990 and 1993 World Championships. He was a member of the 1993 and 1995 U.S. World teams, which claimed the World Team title for the United States. Jones won gold medals at numerous major competitions including four World Cups, the 1995 Pan American Games and the 1994 Goodwill Games. He won six U.S. Nationals titles.
Jones was a NCAA runner-up for Arizona State in 1990 and was a three-time All-American. He was No. 1 ranked freestyle wrestler in the USA while still competing in college. He is originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was a state high school champion.