USA coach Zeke Jones returns to ASU to head wrestling program

Zeke Jones was a three-time All-American at ASU, then went on to win a world championship team and Olympic silver medal.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

TEMPE, Ariz. — USA Wrestling National Freestyle coach Zeke Jones has been hired as new head coach of Arizona State’s wrestling program.

 "I think it’s a tremendous day for the sport of wrestling in the state of Arizona," ASU athletic director Ray Anderson said. "The hire of Zeke Jones makes a statement to the wrestling community within our state that Arizona State University is seeking to reestablish its program among the elite in the country. We are thrilled to welcome Zeke back to his alma mater."

Jones, 47, was a three-time All-American at ASU and a member of the Sun Devils’ 1988 NCAA Championship team. He was an NCAA runner-up at 118 pounds and ranks fourth in ASU’s record book for career victories with 134. He went on to win a world championship in 1991 and an Olympic silver medal in ’92.

Jones was named head freestyle coach for USA Wrestling in 2008 after three seasons as head coach at the University of Pennsylvania, leading the Quakers to a record of 33-17-1.

"It was always my goal to come back to college wrestling," Jones said. "Six years ago, Rich Bender (USA Wrestling Executive Director) and I talked about serving our country and getting our freestyle program back on track. I wanted to take on that challenge. I feel we are at a better place than we were. Now, I am ready for a new challenge, helping elevate Arizona State’s program into one of the best in the country and position its wrestlers for success on all levels of competition."

Jones replaces Shawn Charles, who resigned after five seasons as ASU’s head coach.