Track, cross country coach resigns


Kelley L Cox

Louis LaVenture ,
Sports and Campus Editor

In May at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, junior Marquise Cherry was one of the “best jumpers in the nation,” and captured first place in the men’s long jump event. Former CSUEB Head Coach Ralph Jones smiled from ear to ear as he posed with his athlete on the first place podium following the event.

Unfortunately for Jones and the Pioneers, they will not get to see where last season’s success will take them in 2015-2016. Jones resigned after his fifth season at the helm for the Pioneers, “Because building my family was more of a priority for me than continuing to build the East Bay program,” according to Jones.

On July 24, first-year Cal State East Bay Athletic Director Joan McDermott announced that Tony Nicolosi would be the new head coach of the men and women’s cross country and track and field teams. This was the first coaching change made at CSUEB since her hiring late last year and McDermott is confident that Nicolosi’s success at Western State Colorado University will carry over to the Pioneers and CSUEB.

Nicolosi helped produce 11 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Americans during his three-year tenure as an assistant coach at WSCU. Prior to that, Nicolosi was a graduate student assistant at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Nicolosi also coached at Seminole High School in Florida where his team captured three straight championships during his tenure.

Jones leaves some big shoes to fill, literally. In addition to his success on the track, he also led a charitable effort that sent athletics shoes to the country of Conakry, Guinea, which is located on the Western coast of Africa.

According to their Secretary General of the International Medalist Association, Ron Freeman, this is the first time in the country’s history that a coach and athletes sent shoes to their country for underprivileged athletes.

“The culture has been changed, the right athletes have been recruited into the program, and the foundation has been established where the next head coach should be able to come in and have immediate success,” Jones said.

“The timing was right with the hiring of the new AD for me to leave and allow her to bring in the person she felt could carry out her vision. I have always lived by the philosophy to leave a program better than I found it and that’s what my staff and I were able to do at East Bay.”

He also established the annual 5K run at CSUEB and was vital in rebuilding a program that entered the Division II level just five years ago.

Jones says that he will be working privately with a few athletes attempting to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics as well as pursuing a teaching position at the high school level closer to his family back east.

“I have three amazing children who are all involved in sports that I will coach in some capacity, but I don’t for see coaching at the college level in my near future,” Jones said. “My wife and kids enjoy me being home more.”