Following the Knights quick exit from the American Athletic Conference tournament Thursday night, UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White relieved Head Coach Donnie Jones of his duties after six seasons with the program, according to a press release.
This news didn’t come as a surprise as rumblings of Jones’ job security loomed over the UCF locker room as the team collected continuous losses, resulting in a 12-18 record.
“After a great deal of thought and deliberation, we have determined that a change in leadership for our men’s basketball program is necessary,” White said in release. “Donnie and his staff have been dedicated to ensuring our student-athletes become successful young men, and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication to UCF, our students and the entire Knights community over the past six years. However, our athletics department, university and community expect our men's basketball program to compete for American Athletic Conference titles and make regular postseason appearances, and unfortunately, we have not reached these expectations.”
In six seasons as head coach, Jones had a composite record of 100-88, and 37-54 over the last three. Jones was faced with the uphill battle of developing young players such as 7-foot-6 freshman Tacko Fall, dealing with the loss of 2015 All-Rookie team honoree, sophomore guard B.J. Taylor, forcing Jones to alter the role of transfer, redshirt sophomore forward A.J. Davis who was still getting acclimated to the system.
“I’d like to thank Dr. Hitt and the UCF community for all their support,” Jones said in a release. “I’m extremely grateful for the young men I had a chance to learn from and help reach their dreams during my time at UCF.”
Four days ago, White relieved the head coach of the women’s basketball team, Joi Williams, after their team’s first round exit from the conference tournament. Following a disappointing season and unsettling loss to Tulane In the conference tournament, White did the same to the men’s coach, Donnie Jones. The next step for White will be to begin his search for the programs seventh head basketball coach.
“We’re going to move quickly to find the right coach to lead our program and bring championships to UCF,” White said in a press release. “We don’t have a set timeline but were going to be thorough and ensure we have the right person to lead our student-athletes. I’d like to thank Donnie [Jones] and his wife Michelle for their many positive contributions to UCF.”
Since his arrival, White has had to fire two head coaches, and will have hired his third by the time next season comes around.
Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future.