July 6, 2012. Billy Jones, an 18-year coaching veteran who has spent the last 14 seasons as a coach at four of college baseball’s most elite programs, has been named head baseball coach at Appalachian State University, director of athletics Charlie Cobb announced on Friday.
Jones, who comes to Appalachian State after eight seasons as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, replaces Chris Pollard, who was named the head coach at Duke last month.
In his eight years at Oklahoma State (2005-12), Jones served as the program’s recruiting coordinator while working directly with the Cowboys’ hitters and outfielders. He helped lead OSU to eight-straight winning seasons, six NCAA Regional appearances, an NCAA Super Regional and a Big 12 Tournament championship. The Cowboys notched three 40-win campaigns, closed the season ranked among the nation’s top 25 three times and finished among the top four in the ultra-competitive Big 12 on five occasions during Jones’ eight years with the program.
As Oklahoma State’s recruiting coordinator, he led the efforts to bring 31 eventual Major League Baseball draftees and four future all-Americans into the program. Among his most notable recruits were first-team all-Americans Tyler Mach, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and Andrew Heaney, who was selected No. 9 overall by the Miami Marlins in this year’s MLB Draft. In all, Jones recruited and coached the only Big 12 Player of the Year (Mach – 2006), Big 12 Pitcher of the Year (Heaney – 2012), Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (Zach Johnson – 2011) and Big 12 Freshman of the Year (Corey Brown – 2005) in OSU history.
As the Cowboys’ hitting coach, he oversaw a potent offensive attack that led the Big 12 in home runs five times and ranked among the league’s top two clubs in batting average six times. Seven players that he coached at OSU have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, which is more Major Leaguers than any other Big 12 program has produced over the last eight years.
Prior to his arrival at Oklahoma State, Jones was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at NC State from 2002-04. His reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters began at NC State, where he brought in 21 players that would go on to be selected in the MLB Draft and six that would earn all-America recognition. On the field, the Wolfpack put together three-straight winning seasons and earned two NCAA Regional berths with Jones on the bench, highlighted by a 45-18 campaign in 2003 that culminated with the program’s first NCAA Regional championship since 1968.
For his efforts at NC State, Jones was named one of five finalists for Baseball America’s National Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2003 and was promoted to assistant head coach for his final season in 2004.
His Division I coaching career began with two seasons as an assistant coach at Oregon State (1999 and 2000), followed by one season at Arizona State (2001), coaching infielders at both schools. Following his only season at Arizona State, he served as head coach of the Brewster Whitecaps of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer of 2001, where he was also selected to manage in the CCBL’s annual all-star game.
Jones started his coaching career in 1995 at Green River Community College, in Auburn, Wash., serving as an assistant coach for two seasons (1995-96) before taking over as head coach for the 1997 and ‘98 campaigns. He was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Western Region Coach of the Year after leading the Gators to a regional championship in 1998, when his squad hit .342 with 60 home runs in just 36 games and 11 players earned all-region recognition. He also coached the Western Region club to victory in the 1998 NWAACC all-star game.
A native of Kent, Wash., Jones played collegiately at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., where he hit .433 as a freshman in 1988, and Bellvue Community College in Bellvue, Wash. before transferring to NCAA Division I Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) for his final collegiate season. He earned a bachelor of science in liberal studies from Oregon State in 2001.
Jones and his wife, Tiffani, have two sons: Ryder (17) and Utah (15).
BILLY JONES AT A GLANCE
1995-96: Green River Community College (assistant coach)
1997-98: Green River Community College (head coach)
1999-2000: Oregon State (assistant coach)
2001: Arizona State (assistant coach)
2001: Brewster Whitecaps – Cape Cod Baseball League (head coach)
2002-04: NC State (assistant coach/assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator)
2005-12: Oklahoma State (assistant coach/recruiting coordinator)
1988: Lower Columbia College
1989-90: Bellvue Community College
1991: Southwest Texas State (now Texas State)
B.S. liberal studies
Oregon State, 2001
Sons: Ryder (17) and Utah (15)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT BILLY JONES
“I’m excited to have Billy Jones on board to lead our baseball program. His reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters is well-known throughout baseball circles and his experience in identifying top-notch student-athletes nationwide, but particularly in the state of North Carolina and the Southeast, makes him a great fit for Appalachian State. I have seen firsthand Coach Jones’ ability as a teacher when we worked together at NC State and believe that our student-athletes will benefit from his leadership on and off the field. I am confident that under Coach Jones, Appalachian State baseball will continue to compete for conference championships and trips to Omaha for years to come.”
— Appalachian State director of athletics Charlie Cobb
“For the last 14 years, Billy Jones has patiently prepared himself for this tremendous opportunity with a great work ethic and loyal dedication to our great game. His many years as an integral part of four successful programs in four major conferences have him more than ready to take the helm at Appalachian State University. His contagious energy and love for baseball will be embraced by the Boone community and Mountaineer fan base and his passion will have an immediate impact on recruiting in the talent-rich state of North Carolina.”
— NC State head coach Elliott Avent
“Appalachian State is going to be well-served by having a young, energetic coach like Billy Jones. It shows that hard work pays off because Coach Jones has worked his way through the ranks and paid his dues to become a Division I head coach. I am excited for him and his family and I would not be surprised to see Appalachian State continue its climb up the Division I ranks with Coach Jones.”
— Oregon State head coach Pat Casey
“Billy is an excellent fit at Appalachian State and will do great things for the Mountaineers. He is a hard worker and will be very successful in leading the Appalachian State baseball program. He is a skilled recruiter and his experience at several top programs will serve him well in making Appalachian State a perennial winner.”
— Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
“I’ve known Billy a long time and I think that he is a great hire for Appalachian State. He brings an energy and enthusiasm that will be outstanding for the baseball program and the athletics department. I believe that Appalachian State will continue its rise to prominence under Coach Jones.”
— Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson
“Coach Jones epitomizes a player’s coach. He knows his players as well as he knows the game. His door was always open and he was always willing to listen to whatever was on our minds — all while treating everyone with the respect they deserved and caring about the person and his life, not just the player’s performance.”
— Oakland Athletics pitcher Joey Devine (recruited and coached by Jones at NC State; first-round draft pick of Atlanta Braves in 2005)