By Marty Gordon
Radford University’s men’s basketball team played Thursday night without its head coach, who had been suspended for his actions in another game previously in the week.
Coach Mike Jones was involved in a loud disagreement at center court with Winthrop’s head coach. The Highlanders picked up the 81-77 win, but early on, the contest was testy with lots of pushing and shoving by players on both sides of the gym. At least four technical fouls were called, and Jones and Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey shouted at each other over the on-court fracas.
The suspension was self-imposed by the Radford University Athletics Department. RU athletic director Robert Lineburg said, “Coach Jones’ one-game suspension is the result of on-court conduct that occurred during Monday night’s game against Winthrop. The action does not reflect the level of compassion and professionalism demonstrated by Coach Jones on a daily basis. Coach Jones is a proud Highlander and an outstanding role model for the team, our campus and our community.”
Jones apologized for what he called poor judgement. “First to our coaches, players and administration, the responsibility is all mine and I fully accept the consequence that comes because of my actions. I also apologize to Coach Kelsey, his staff and players. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me, and in that situation, I made a poor choice. We had an outstanding officiating crew working the game and I should have allowed them to handle things,” the head coach said.
Assistant coach Ron Jirsa led the Highlanders in Jones’ absence.