For turning Tulane into national power, Jones joins elite

By Lenny Vangilder

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Rick Jones will join in a select group as the only college baseball coaches in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. The enshrinement of Jones and 10 other members of the Class of 2016 is Saturday evening, June 25, at the Natchitoches Events Center.

“It’s hard to believe,” Jones said last month. “I’m going to be the fourth (college) baseball coach in Louisiana to go in; it’s pretty special company, (along with) all of the other athletes, coaches and administrators who are in the Hall of Fame.

“It was a shock, and at the same time, I’m very honored.”

Jones won 818 games in 21 seasons as Tulane’s head coach – more than any coach in any sport in school history.

The North Carolina native spent his entire career in ACC country – including four seasons as the top assistant at Georgia Tech – until the summer of 1993, when he was hired to replace Joe Brockhoff.

Jones inherited a Tulane team that had won only 19 games the previous season, but returned 10 seniors. His first Tulane team would go 41-24 and earn the school’s first NCAA Tournament at-large berth in six years.

Though Jones and his wife Gina moved back to North Carolina two years ago, it feels like a second address.

“We’re here,” Jones said, “but I consider (New Orleans) home, to be honest with you.”