Thayer Academy has named Mike Jones ‘03 as the head coach of its boys varsity basketball program.
A standout at Thayer before playing at the University of Maryland and then professionally overseas, Jones has served as the team’s assistant coach for several years. He is also the head coach of the boys varsity track and field team and assists with the academy’s volleyball squads.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Jones at the helm of the program to which he has brought such notoriety,” said Director of Athletics Bobbi Moran. “Mike will take the reins of a program near and dear to his heart, and I couldn’t be happier for our players and our program to have Mike with us.”
Jones expressed thanks and an eagerness to continue working with student-athletes in his new role.
“I’m so honored and grateful that things have come full circle, as I now have the opportunity to return to Thayer as a head coach on the same court where I competed as a high school athlete,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a really great season with this team.”
Jones came to Thayer in ninth grade, playing basketball and later also running track and field. He scored a total of 2,021 points in basketball, earning Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year honors. In his senior year he was named third-team Parade All-American and played in the McDonald's All-American Game, winning the 3-point shooting competition. According to Joe Benson's recruiting website Scout.com, Jones was the second-best shooting guard in the country coming out of high school, behind LeBron James. Upon graduation from Thayer, Jones earned the Headmaster’s Award before heading to the University of Maryland.
As a freshman, Jones was a member of the Terrapins’ 2003-04 squad that won the ACC Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. In 2006, he earned sole possession of the all-time University of Maryland record by making nine 3-pointers in a game. His team returned to the NCAA tournament in his senior year, where Maryland knocked off a Davidson College team led by Steph Curry. In 2007, he played in the NBA’s Summer League in Orlando, Florida, appearing in five games for the New Jersey Nets. He then set his sights overseas, playing with the Turkish professional team Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi. In January of 2008, he was signed to the Cyprus-based APOEL team, and in the 2008-09 season, he played for CSU Asesoft in Romania. In 2009-10, Jones played with both Peñarol de Mar del Plata in Argentina and Gimnasia-Indalo in Venezuela.
In the 2011-12 season, Jones went back to CSU Ploiești în România but suffered a season-ending injury which prompted his retirement from professional basketball later that season.
As a coach and educator, Jones believes in a broad definition of “success” that isn’t laser-focused on just athletics or numbers in a win-loss column. He wants the development of athletic ability to dovetail with the social, intellectual, and emotional development of his student-athletes as they go through the process together.
“Even though we will all have the same general focus, that growth process will look different for each individual as they each come from a different life experience,” said Jones.
Moran noted her new head coach’s “sincere passion for basketball” as well as his understanding of what it takes to play the game at the highest level. She praised his dedication to Thayer, his understanding of students’ multisport commitments, and his desire to help young people grow. She added that Jones will lead with composure and complement the girls varsity program, which is under the leadership of head coach Billy O’ Dwyer ‘02.
"I believe Mike will continue to work to foster an environment where our student-athletes are taught the importance of commitment, dedication, and sportsmanship,” Moran said. “His experience as a student-athlete and coach will help build upon the strong foundation of Thayer basketball in the ISL and NEPSAC.”
Recently inducted into the Thayer Sports Hall of Fame, Jones is married to Health and Wellness Faculty Sophie Browne Jones ‘04, daughter of legendary Thayer coach Jeff Browne P ‘04, ‘05, and is the proud father to five beautiful children.