According to Jeff Goodman at CBSSports.com, the LSU Tigers are all set to hire North Texas’ Johnny Jones — a relative unknown outside of Baton Rouge — as their next head coach. Jones will take over for Trent Johnson, who, somewhat amusingly, went the other direction across the state line to take over at TCU last week.
Jones might not be a big name in coaching circles just yet, but many Tiger fans will be happy to see him back on campus. Jones is a former LSU player and coach who learned the trade from the great Dale Brown, and his candidacy has had vocal support from former Tiger luminaries like Rudy Macklin, Collis Temple, and Brown himself.
Jones helped take LSU to the 1981 Final Four as a player, and returned his alma mater to glory as an assistant coach in 1986. He began his head coaching career with an ill-fated 15-16 stint as interim head coach at Memphis in 2000, where he was one of two coaches to bridge the gap between Larry Finch and John Calipari. His time with the Mean Green of the Sun Belt was more productive, garnering two NCAA tourney trips out of the Sun Belt, and three straight 20-win seasons between 2008-11.
The first matter Jones will want to attend to is the re-recruitment of in-state SG Malik Morgan, who signed with Trent Johnson several months ago. Looking forward, his in-state ties may be just what the Tigers need to keep local stars like Ricardo Gathers (signed with Baylor), Javan Felix (Texas) and Michael Qualls (Arkansas) closer to home in the future.