Matt Jones would have coveted the Burris boys basketball coaching job no matter who the Owls’ athletic director was. But once he learned Brian Carr was becoming the school’s athletic director, it only heightened his desire for the job.
Carr reciprocated that interest, and Jones was hired as the Owls’ new boys basketball coach.
“It makes it more comfortable on me,” Jones said of working for Carr. “I know that with anything I need in a situation that pops up, he’s going to go out of his way to help me out. So that is a factor definitely.”
Jones is a Burris alum who played for Carr when he attended the school. He served as one of Carr’s assistant coaches with the school’s girls basketball team last season. He previously served as the school’s head girls basketball coach in 2010-11 season.
When Jones was the school’s head girls basketball coach, he was not employed in a full-time position at the school. He now works as a speech therapist at Burris, so he will be employed full-time at the school in which he coaches.
Jones will replace Greg Hitchens, who resigned after coaching Burris for two seasons. Hitchens went 25-20 in his two years with the team. Mack Rathbun, a 1,000-point scorer for the school, graduated after last season, so the new coach will also be in search of offensive production.
“I know the guys actually pretty well,” Jones said. “And yeah, losing Mack is pretty huge, because he was their centerpiece. And also Isaiah Anderson, he was great too. But I also see a lot of talent coming up with these younger guys. And I know that they’re hungry, and I know that they want to work hard.”
Jones said tough defense and high effort are hallmarks of his system. He’s 27, and will be undertaking his first boys basketball head coaching job. He previously served as an assistant coach at Anderson Highland for one season before that school closed, but he also enters the job without the same level of experience as some of his colleagues.
“I’m going to find a way to do it the right way,” Jones said. “If that means hiring more experienced assistant coaches, I’m going to do that, because I’m just always ready to learn. I know that’s a weakness, because I am a younger guy and I haven’t been around it as long. So I know that I definitely need to learn, and I’m just hungry to learn.”
As Carr worked with Jones last season, he saw qualities in Jones he thought showed an ability to take over as the Owls’ head coach.
“He’s very positive, and (has) got a great work ethic and understands the game really well,” Carr said. “So that helps us. I could see that in him, and all of the things that we were looking for at Burris, I feel like he’s a very positive person for that.”
Carr said Burris’ searches for new baseball and girls basketball coaches remain ongoing.