Viterbo University Director of Athletics Barry Fried announced that Lionel Jones has been named the seventh Head Women’s Basketball Coach in the program’s history since it began in 1986. Jones takes the place of Bobbi Vandenberg, who retired in September after coaching the V-Hawks for 25 seasons. The hiring is effective immediately. Jones has led three separate high school basketball programs to conference championships, totaling a 310-78 career head coaching record at the high school level.
“Lionel’s desire to lead our women’s basketball program was very evident from the beginning,” said Fried. “He is an excellent communicator, proven leader and has a track record of success. The people I spoke to said he’s a tremendous coach, but an even better person. I think he’ll be a great fit.”
Before coming to Viterbo, Jones was the Head Girls Basketball Coach at Durand High School (Wis.) since 2012. In six seasons with the Panthers, he led Durand to three conference and Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Regional Championships. During the 2016-2017 season, Durand finished as WIAA semifinalists and Jones was named an All-Star Coach by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.
Jones was also the Regional Director of the Wisconsin Playmakers from 2014-2018, a youth basketball organization for boys and girls in northwestern Wisconsin. He coached a 17U team to a Nike Invitational National Championship in 2016. Jones was also a recruiting coordinator and oversaw the skill development program with the Playmakers.
“I would like to thank Barry Fried and the rest of the search committee for having the confidence in me to be able to lead this program,” said Jones. “I am truly humbled by this appointment. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
It was in high school boys basketball where Jones got his start in a lead role. He was the head coach at Park Center High School (Minn.) from 2000-2004. Jones led the Pirates to three conference championships and two regional final appearances in four seasons. He was named North West Suburban Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003.
Jones transitioned to college basketball by spending four seasons as the Associate Men’s Basketball Coach at UW-Stout. The Blue Devils qualified for their first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Tournament in program history in 2006.
He returned to high school athletics in 2008 where spent a combined three seasons at Menomonie High School (Wis.) and Woodbury High School (Minn.). He led Menomonie High School to a school record 22 wins and a conference championship in 2010, being named the Big Rivers Conference Coach of the Year.
Jones has nearly 15 years of high school and university education and student service experience. His latest position was as the Curriculum Coordinator at Hope Farm School in Stockholm, Wis. since 2017.
Jones graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1995.
“I have full confidence that Lionel will build a successful basketball program and develop a great team culture,” said Fried. “We have a hard-working group of young women who love the game and are excited for the season to begin.”
Viterbo Women’s Basketball and their new head coach start the 2018 season with their annual Viterbo Invitational NAIA Showcase. The V-Hawks will take on Cardinal Stritch University to start the tournament on Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
Photo Courtesy Viterbo AthleticsNAIA