The Free Press
The Mankato Free Press
---- — MANKATO — Bethany Lutheran College needed a new women’s basketball coach, and it turned to a familiar face to fill the position.
Lyle Jones, who coached the Vikings from 1991 to 2003, will return to the bench, the college announced Tuesday.
Jones replaces his replacement from 11 years ago, Tiffany Young Klockziem, who resigned following last season.
“It’s a privilege to once again join the Viking coaching staff, and I thank the Bethany administration for the opportunity to re-engage with collegiate athletics at this level,” Jones said in a press release. “I’m excited and eager to make a positive contribution to the women’s basketball program and work closely with those in the department, and most importantly, with our current and future student-athletes.”
Jones compiled a 225-86 record in his first stint at Bethany, winning three Minnesota Community College Conference state championships.
He also won eight MCCC Southern Division titles, including a stretch of six straight from 1998 to 2003, and two National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIII titles.
Jones was named MCCC Coach of the Year twice (1994, 1995), NJCAA Regional Coach of the Year twice (2001, 2002), and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association District 4 Coach of the Year once (1995) when he was also one of seven finalists for national coach of the year.
Under Jones, Bethany teams were ranked in the national polls and were in the top 10 in the nation in offense and defense each season. He coached 10 NJCAA and KODAK All-Americans.
“I am extremely excited to announce the return of Lyle Jones as the Bethany women’s basketball head coach,” athletic director Don Westphal said in the release. “Lyle’s record, championships and honors won by players speak for themselves. But beyond that, Lyle’s commitment to his players, our college and our Christian mission will allow him to make a huge impact on the educational experience of our student-athletes.
I have no doubt, that under Lyle’s direction, our Vikings will soon be a part of UMAC title discussions.”
Jones is also an associate professor at Bethany in the health and human performance department.