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Julie Jones enters her 12th season in 2018, leading the Akron softball program after signing a contract extension that will keep her at the helm through August 2019. Jones' mission is simple, to build smarter students, stronger athletes and better people.
During her tenure at UA, Jones has mentored 19 All-MAC honorees, five NCAA All-Mideast Region selections, 32 Academic All-MAC student-athletes, eight Academic All-District selections, and two Academic All-Americans, the 2014 MAC Pitcher of the Year, the 2016 prestigious MAC Nan Harvey award winner, and the 2017 MAC Freshman of the Year. These honorees and their teammates have rewritten the UA record books for pitching, home runs in a season and in base running categories as a perennial NCAA leader in stolen bases. In 2016, Jones led the Zips to a 30-25-1 overall record, the programs best record since 2009, a fourth-place finish in the MAC, and an appearance in the MAC Tournament for the third consecutive year.
Continuing to prove that UA's team is comprised of true student-athletes, Jones demonstrated her desire to build her players as individuals of character and discipline as her team ranks at the top of Akron's 19 intercollegiate teams in grade point average. Jones' teams have ranked in the top-20 in team GPA 16 times in her 21-year tenure as an assistant or head coach of a Division I softball program.
Along with athletic and academic achievements, Jones always stresses the importance of giving back to the community as the team continues to contribute to many community projects over the years, including Make a Difference Day with the University Park Alliance, conducting sports clinics at local elementary schools, and working with the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center, Project EdBear and many other philanthropic activities.
"This community service plays into our overall philosophy of teaching our student-athletes to be well rounded, accountable and appreciative members of society," said Jones. "We use softball as a microcosm of life teaching the important lessons of commitment, perseverance, accountability, teamwork and facing and overcoming failures. We hope that the experiences they share will help them learn valuable tools for success while at UA and well beyond. We also hope that they are building life-long relationships with their team and lay a foundation of a life-long commitment to our program. In our opinion, our staff is here to teach our kids to be successful in life. We want them to leave our program with passion to go out and change the world."
Jones was named head softball coach at Akron in July 2006. She came to Akron after 10 seasons as head coach at Cleveland State, and three as an assistant, departing as CSU's winningest coach in the history of the athletics department.
During her tenure at CSU, Jones mentored 34 all-conference selections, a league player of the year, and three pitchers of the year. During the 2006 season, four Cleveland State players were named to the Academic All-Horizon League team, with three players earning a spot on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America softball squad. Only seven players in CSU athletics history have been named Academic All-Americans. In 1997, Jones was named the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year, leading the Vikings to the league championship and CSU's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. From 2003 to 2006 Jones led the team to three championship games. Jones ended her time at CSU with the most wins in school history of any sport accumulating 244 victories.
The Vikings were also ranked in the NFCA academic top 20 all 13 years she was at CSU, including a third-place finish in 2005 when the team posted a 3.533 GPA. She had a 244-260-2 overall mark with CSU, including an 88-68 record the last three seasons. Five of Jones' former players at Cleveland State have been inducted into the CSU Varsity Hall of Fame.
As head coach at CSU, Jones oversaw every facet of the program, including budgetary matters, scheduling, practice and conditioning, recruiting and camps. She also spearheaded fund raising activities, which totaled more than $35,000 each season.
From 1993-96, Jones served as an assistant coach at CSU, aiding in all aspects of the program's administration. From 1994-97 she was also the compliance coordinator for the Vikings, serving as the campus liaison for CSU's initial NCAA Certification Report.
An all-region and all-conference selection as a catcher at Baldwin-Wallace University, she was a four-year starter and led the Yellow Jackets to the 1992 NCAA Tournament. A standout in the classroom, she was a two-time National Softball Coaches Association All-America Scholar-Athlete and a three-time academic all-conference selection. In 1992 she was named to the academic all-region team and received an academic All-American honorable mention. She was inducted into the B-W Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2003.
A 1992 graduate of B-W with a degree in Speech, Communication and Theatre, Jones earned a master's degree in Applied Communication Theory and Methodology from Cleveland State in 2001. She is a graduate of Akron Garfield High School, where her number nine was retired.
A member of the USA TODAY Top 25 Coaches Poll, she also serves on the Women's Athletic Alumni Association Board of Directors at B-W, is a graduate of the NACWAA/HERS institute for Administrative Advancement and serves on the Women's Board of the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center. Jones is also a graduate of Leadership Akon and a member of the Leadership Akron Alumni Association.