MC Basketball Coaching Legend Earns Hall of Fame Nod for Impressive Community College Playing, Coaching Career
Before ever coaching a game at Mississippi College, legendary men’s basketball coach Mike Jones had established himself as a winner in the Community College ranks.
As a top-flight shooting guard at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, he led the Wolf Pack to a pair of impressive campaigns on the court, and was also an all-conference performer on the baseball field.
After finishing his collegiate playing career at MC and serving as an assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi under his former basketball coach and mentor, M.K. Turk, Jones returned to Co-Lin as head men’s basketball coach. He compiled an incredible 122-21 record and led the Wolves to two National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament appearances.
Twice named the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference Region 23 Coach of the Year, he was inducted into the Co-Lin Hall of Fame in 1996.
Jones’ remarkable career at the Community College level was acknowledged April 25 when he was among 15 former student-athletes and coaches inductees into the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame. Jones’ family and three former players were in attendance when he was recognized at the Hinds Community College Clyde Muse Center in Pearl.
“Any time you receive an honor of this magnitude, it’s overwhelming,” Jones said. “I’m humbled to receive this award. Copiah-Lincoln Community College is a special place to me.”
After his three-year coaching stint at Co-Lin, Jones achieved legendary status at MC, leading the Choctaw men’s basketball team to a remarkable 342-127 overall record, four American Southwest Conference championships, one Gulf South Conference title, and three appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament’s Sweet 16 round. He captained MC through 14 consecutive winning seasons, including five straight NCAA Tournament berths from 1998-2002.
Jones earned three ASC Coach of the Year and GSC West Division Coach of the Year honors. Many of his players were named to All-Conference and All-Academic teams. During his final season helming MC’s men’s basketball team, he guided the 2020-21 Choctaws, which included his grandson, Zach Jones, through a season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The long-time athletic director helped the University transition back into the GSC and NCAA Division II after a successful tenure in NCAA Division III. His fund-raising efforts through the years led to enhanced facilities for virtually all of MC’s sports programs. The annual Mike Jones-MC Athletics Golf Tournament and the basketball court in the A.E. Wood Coliseum are named in his honor.
His remarkable accomplishments at Mississippi College helped earn him a coveted spot in the prestigious Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Jones enrolled at Copiah Lincoln Community College to become a head basketball coach.
“I knew at an early age – I think I was in the 10th grade – that I had a burning desire to coach,” he said. “Little did I know the route I would take and the blessing of success I would have.”
As a player at Co-Lin, he teamed with a pair of standout performers to create a formidable scoring squad under Turk’s keen guidance.
“One went on to play at Memphis State, and the other went on to New Mexico State,” he said. “One of them even played in the pros. I was fortunate to contribute to each team, and we were very successful.
“I was able to get opportunities to shoot because of those players, who were 6-9 and 6-7. I have always said, ‘When you have good players around you, it makes you better.’ That was exactly my situation. I had great players around me, and it made me look better than I was.”
While playing at Co-Lin, Jones became close to his head coach and considered Turk his “boss, mentor, and best friend.” Jones coached for Turk during several successful basketball seasons at USM.
Jones earned his associate degree in 1973 and continued his playing career at MC. An All-Conference selection for the Choctaws basketball team, he learned a valuable lesson that would remain with him throughout his coaching career.
“Most of the time, when kids go to college, they were usually one of the best players at their schools,” he said. “When you play every game for two years as I did at Co-Lin, then come to a place like Mississippi College, you’re just another player. Sometimes, that’s a rude awakening – I can assure you, it was for me.
“Going from a player who played all the time to a player who was a contributor some of the time, I got to see both sides. That helped me empathize with players who always thought they should be playing.”
He earned his bachelor’s in education in 1975 and his master’s in education in school administration in 1977 at MC. He served as a graduate assistant basketball coach responsible for scouting and recruiting before joining Turk at USM.
When the head coaching position became available at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, he jumped at the opportunity to lead a familiar program. When he came to MC three years later, Jones became one of a select few coaches to have served as a head coach at more than one alma mater.
“That was certainly special,” he said. “Not many people get to come back and coach where they played. I was fortunate to have great players, and great players make great coaches, so I was very successful.”
Successful enough that Jones is now a member of four different Halls of Fame.
“It’s icing on the cake to be in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, both schools’ sports halls of fame and now the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame,” he said. “There’s a lot of outstanding men and women in this community college hall of fame, and I’m proud to be included in this incredible group.”
Jones shared the philosophy that led to his amazing success at both the Community College and NCAA levels.
“You get honors for one reason – if you surround yourself with good people and good players, then the result will usually be a success,” he said. “This honor is not because of me. I was blessed to have excellent coaches and outstanding players.
“This honor is because of all the people that have been around me for my entire career.”
Jones remains involved at Mississippi College in a part-time development role, working with MC President Blake Thompson on a number of initiatives for MC athletics. Jones and his wife, Jane, have two children – Michael Jones, Jr. and Amanda Rae Jones Sisson (Taylor) – and six grandchildren – Zach Jones, Ansley Jones, Will Jones, Charlotte-Jane Sisson, Rhett Sisson, and Ward Sisson.
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