GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman director of athletics Dr. Gary Clark announced Thursday the hiring of Kelly Jones as the school’s new head coach.
Jones, a San Diego California native, is among the top developmental coaches in the United States. Over the last decade, he has coached some of the best professional tennis players in the world, including Mardy Fish, currently the top-ranked American and No. 8 player in the world, and James Blake, who has been ranked as high as fourth world-wide. His other players include two Top 20 performers, John Isner and Xavier Malisse, along with many other Top 100 performers.
“We are delighted to have a coach with Kelly Jones’ national experience join us at Furman,” Clark said. “We look forward to his continuing the tennis success which our men’s program achieved under Paul Scarpa.”
“I am really excited to be following the icon Paul Scarpa as Furman’s head men’s tennis coach,” Kelly said. “It is really an honor to be part of Furman’s tradition. I know there were many, many qualified candidates for this job. I feel very grateful that I was chosen, knowing the extent of resumes and coaches that were interested in the Furman position.
“When I visited Furman, I was so impressed with the university. The academics, the first-class facilities, the athletic department – each individual aspect was fantastic,” he said. “From what I’ve seen of Furman University, there’s no reason why the men’s tennis team can’t be a top-ranked team in the country. Because of the support from the top, everybody is very excited about the direction of the entire athletic department.”
Prior to his coaching career, Jones established himself among the top professional tennis players on the ATP. In 1998, he reached the mixed doubles finals at Wimbledon, then won the ATP Tour Singapore singles championship in both 1989 and 1990. Jones attained a No. 1 doubles ranking on the ATP Tour in October of 1992, then went on to reach the doubles finals at the U.S. Open and the Australian Open that same year. The 1994 World Team Tennis Player of the Year, he also won the doubles championship on the ATP Tour at St. Polten in 1997.
After retiring from professional tennis in 1998, Jones spent six years as a USTA National Coach scouting, recruiting, and developing the nation’s best junior tennis players.
During his collegiate career, Jones won NCAA doubles titles in 1984 and 1985, then led Pepperdine to the finals of the NCAA Championship the following year. A four-time All-American, Jones dropped a 3-6, 6-3 7-6 match to Furman’s Ned Caswell in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. Prior to his junior year at Pepperdine, he also competed as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team.