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Norfolk State Basketball Coaches Jones, Clark Accept Contract Offers
NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State University Athletics Director Marty Miller announced today that men’s basketball coach Robert Jones and women’s basketball coach Debra Clark have accepted offers to remain head coaches of their respective programs.
Jones has been offered a three-year contract to become the permanent head coach of the NSU men’s program. His three-year deal would run through the 2016-17 season.
Clark has been offered a two-year extension that would run through the 2015-16 season.
Terms and details of the contracts are being finalized for approval by NSU Interim President/CEO Eddie N. Moore Jr. and the Board of Visitors.
In his first year leading the program and his seventh overall at the school, Jones has guided NSU to a 14-11 overall record this year and an 8-3 mark in the MEAC. The Spartans currently sit in third place in the conference standings heading into this Saturday’s matchup at Coppin State.
Currently in her fifth season as head coach of the NSU women’s program, Clark has led the Spartans to a 10-12 overall record and a 6-5 mark in the MEAC this year. Norfolk State currently sits in sixth place in the conference standings and is on pace for the most overall and MEAC wins over the last 10 years.
“I’ve been very pleased with Coach Jones’ performance as a head coach on the Division I level,” said Miller. “He’s done an excellent job of getting our team to be competitive both within the conference and in non-conference play, despite having to deal with a number of injuries to key players.
“I’m also very satisfied with the academic performance of the program. Our basketball student-athletes had an excellent fall semester overall and are on track to repeat that effort this spring.”
Averaging 74.2 points per game this year, NSU has scored the most points of any Spartan team in the last 13 years. The program owns a 37-6 record (86.0 winning percentage) in the MEAC since the start of the 2011-12 season and is on pace this year for the fifth-ever overall winning season in the Division I era.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve as the head coach for the next several years,” Jones stated. “I want to thank Mr. Miller and the administration with the faith they entrusted in me from day one. Mr. Miller gave me a chance to showcase my abilities as a coach.
“I also would like to thank my assistant coaches, staff, and most importantly the players who have believed in my system from the beginning. This season has presented numerous challenges, but together we have persevered. We can’t wait to finish with a strong season.”
Jones was the associate head coach in 2012-13 when NSU finished with an unblemished record in the MEAC at 16-0, becoming just the fourth MEAC school to run the table in the regular season. He was on staff for NSU’s only two D-I postseason appearances in 2013 in the NIT and in 2012 when the Spartans upset No. 2 seed Missouri in the NCAA tournament.
The program posted back-to-back 20-win seasons the last two years, the first 20-win seasons since 1995-96, and of course won its first-ever MEAC title in 2012. NSU also had its first NBA draft pick in more than 25 years when Kyle O’Quinn was selected in the second round of the 2012 Draft. Jones recruited and offered O’Quinn, an unheralded player out of high school whose only D-I scholarship offer was from Norfolk State.
Jones was originally named the interim head coach at NSU on April 15, 2013 after the departure of previous head coach Anthony Evans.
“Our women’s basketball program is beginning to make significant improvements, and I feel Coach Clark and her staff are poised to make a competitive run in the MEAC,” Miller said. “I am also extremely proud of the academic performance of her student-athletes. I feel that the program will continue to get better in the years to come.”
“I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve as the women's basketball coach at Norfolk State University,” said Clark. “I look forward to continuing to improve our program.”
After NSU won just one game prior to her arrival, Clark quickly turned the program around. In her third season in 2011-12, the Spartans finished 12-17 overall with six conference wins. It tied for the most overall wins since Norfolk State finished 22-9 and won the MEAC title in 2001-02 and was the most conference wins since 2004-05 (9-9).
With two more regular season wins this year, NSU will join that 2004-05 team as the only ones to finish at least .500 in conference play since 2001-02. The Spartans also started this year off 4-1 in the conference for the first time since that championship season.
NSU has also won its opening-round game in the MEAC tournament each of the last two seasons for the first time since 2004 and ’05. Last year, then-junior Rachel Gordon became NSU’s first all-conference player in nine years.