Tony Jones is in his first year as an assistant coach on Bruce Pearl's Auburn staff and his 11th year alongside Pearl overall. The two spent six years together at Tennessee and four at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, reaching the NCAA Tournament eight times.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Jones' primary responsibilities at Auburn include recruiting, scheduling and working with Auburn's perimeter players.
Jones was the head coach at Alcoa High School for the past two seasons, including guiding the team to a 30-6 record and an appearance in the Class AA state tournament. The PrepXtra Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year, Jones led Alcoa to a regular-season District 4-AA championship and a district tournament title.
Prior to Alcoa Jones was paired up with Pearl for 10 years at Tennessee and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, spending time as an associate head coach at both stops.
Prior to joining UWM he spent five seasons at Toledo and three years at Buffalo. Jones led the Volunteers to five straight Southeastern Conference victories during an eight-game stretch that saw him assume the role of interim head coach in Pearl's absence for the first half of the 2011 league schedule. Jones guided UT to consecutive victories over Vanderbilt, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn. Four of those triumphs came on the road, and two (Vanderbilt and Georgia) came against opponents in the top 50 of the RPI.
At the conclusion of Jones' successful eight-game sting as interim head coach, Tennessee ranked near the top of the SEC in numerous statistical categories during conference play: first in offensive rebounding (16.3); second in scoring defense (62.6), rebounding (40.2), rebounding defense (32.0), rebounding margin (+8.2), assists (14.5) and steals (8.1); and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1).
As associate head coach, Jones' primary responsibilities at Tennessee included recruiting, scheduling and working with the perimeter players. An instrumental force in landing some of the influential players in his team's success, he has made in-roads to signing a number of the top players in the nation. Twice during his tenure at Tennessee, Jones helped the Vols sign recruiting classes ranked among the top 10 in the nation. Those classes have included the likes of first-team All-SEC performer Wayne Chism and Jordan McRae and McDonald's All-Americas and future NBA players Scotty Hopson (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Tobias Harris, a 2011 NBA First Round pick (19th overall).
With Jones helping to build its annual slate of opponents, Tennessee's schedule ranked among the nation's toughest. The Vols faced--and beat--many of the country's premier programs, including teams such as Villanova, Memphis, Gonzaga, Texas, Pitt, Ohio State and Kansas.
Along with such ambitious scheduling--Tennessee's average year-end RPI over his final five seasons was an SEC-best 12.4--comes prominent national exposure, as UT played 74 games on national television.
In his 18 seasons of collegiate coaching, Jones has helped direct his teams to 11 postseason tournament bids, including eight NCAA Tournament appearances. Four times (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010) he coached teams that appeared in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and one (2010) he took a team to the Elite Eight, Tennessee's first-ever appearance in the Regional Finals.
Tennessee experienced unprecedented success during Jones' six years on the bench. Tennessee averaged 24.2 wins and won three SEC Eastern Division championships. The 2008 team captured the overall SEC title outright for the first time in 41 years, won a school record 31 games and earned the first No. 1 ranking in school history.
Each of his six seasons at Tennessee resulted in a NCAA Tournament appearance, including three trips to the Sweet 16. Two times Tennessee received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament - the highest in school history.
After helping sign a class that was ranked sixth nationally in 2006, Jones was named one of the top recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com. In 2007, Rivals.com ranked Jones as one of the top-five assistant coaches in the nation.
Jones got his first taste of coaching at his alma mater, Detroit Southwestern High School, where he served as an assistant varsity coach while also serving as head junior varsity coach from 1986-91. During this time he coached future NBA stars Jalen Rose, Howard Eisley and Voshon Lenard, leading them to the mythical USA TODAY national title in 1991. He also served as head coach of Team AAU Michigan for three years (1991-93), posting a 35-1 record and capturing two AAU state championships.
Jones was an All-City star at Southwestern and went on to earn All-Conference honors at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. He earned a bachelor's degree in health care administration from Concordia (Mich.) University.
Jones and his wife, Pam, have four children - Tony II, Jamaal, Mercedes and Porscha. His brother, Bill, is a former member of the NBA's New Jersey Nets.