The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 14, 2014

After a 10-year absence, BLC coach Lyle Jones makes his return

His daughter, Nicole Jones, will be an assistant coach

More than a decade removed from his days as the head coach of the Bethany Lutheran College women's basketball team, Lyle Jones had no thoughts about returning to the sidelines.

But when the BLC administration knocked on his office door and asked if he'd be interested in replacing the departing Tiffany Young Klockziem, he had to give it some thought.

"It kind of caught me by surprise, especially since my own daughter, Nicole, was one of the three finalists for the job," Jones said. "The more I thought about it the more I thought it might not be a bad idea.

"Of course I had to sit down with Nicole and talk it through with her, but we worked it out. I decided to take the job, and she's going to be my assistant coach."

Jones, a graduate of Bethany, returned to the school in 1990 to take over the women's program and ran the show for 14 years. In 2004, he decided to put away his whistle. He had two daughters in high school playing sports, and his now ex-wife was coaching volleyball.

"I felt torn in four different directions so I decided to step away and take some time to watch my kids play," Jones said. "I've still been an associate professor at Bethany all along, I just wasn't coaching."

Bethany Lutheran athletic director Don Westphal, who was part of the search committee for the new coach, said the group had interviewed four candidates for the job, and as they were going through and identifying the different strengths of each, they realized they already had someone on campus who had all the qualities they were looking for.

"We felt we had to at least ask him if he was interested," Westphal said. "He has a proven record with us, he understands the mission of our college and his teams and players have earned numerous accolades."

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