Despite A Cancer Diagnosis, This Coach Led His Team To The NCAA Tournament

“It hasn’t been an easy year for both personal and professional reasons."

Old Dominion head coach Jeff Jones was overcome with emotion after the Monarchs qualified for the NCAA for the first time since 2011.


Jones, who is 58 years old, revealed in September that he was battling prostate cancer. He had been diagnosed and treated for the same disease in 2015, but it came back. As confetti fell to the floor, cameras captured Jones having an emotional moment on the floor with a towel over his face. 

"It hasn't been an easy year for both personal and professional reasons," Jones told the press after the game, per The Washington Post.

When Jones shared the news to his team, he was praised by the ODU athletic director for his honesty. He had a sense of humor about the whole thing, too.

"I told them, 'I've had this for a year now and you haven't seen any difference in me and you're not going to see any difference now, either,' " he said, according to ODU Sports. "You're going to get my very, very best every day. I also joked with them a little, and said this doesn't mean I'm going to be any nicer. I'm still as competitive as ever."

Jones made the announcement in September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. 

Old Dominion will play Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

Cover image via  Brocreative / Shutterstock.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.