POSTED: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 8:51pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 8:57pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — After 15 years away from the place he called home as a basketball player and an assistant coach, Johnny Jones is back at LSU.
"My wife was on the couch and she looked at me and I looked like Muhammad Ali just knocked somebody out,” Jones said with his arms raised over his head describing his emotions after hearing he would become the next head coach at LSU.
Several times during his press conference Monday, Jones had the audience rolling in laughter. But there were serious moments as well.
"Just showing up will not be good enough. It’s about wins. I’ve gotten into the business of cutting down nets, hanging banners, ordering championship rings and watching kids walk across the stage with degree in hand and that's about program building. That’s what it’s about and I think that that's what people can get excited about. That's what I’ll do here at LSU. This is not about a transition period where coach is going to say wait until I get my guys. You are my guys. I will come in here and embrace you and I’m glad you guys will welcome me with open arms," the new LSU men’s basketball coach said while looking eye to eye with the players he inherited from the Trent Johnson regime.
"I was out on spring break and all of a sudden I was getting calls I was like what? But we are here now and I am happy with the way things turned out and we are just going to go with it,” current Tiger forward Eddie Ludwig said.
"It was some different emotions, but we are happy just to have a coach and we feel like coach Jones will be great for us,” guard Andre Stringer added.
Speaking of coaches, Jones played and worked under the legendary Dale Brown. He too was on hand and gives glowing marks to the new man in charge.
"The one main thing that we have in common is that we love people and we love kids. The best way to describe Johnny and this is how I felt when I coached, it’s not who you coach or where you coach but why you coach and he loves kids,” Brown said just moments following the introductory press conference.
"He took a program that was dead in the water at North Texas with no wins and no fans and turned into the most successful coach in their history."
Jones no doubt won the press conference. His next challenge won't be so easy, that's winning basketball games. That in turn will reignite a once passionate basketball fan base in Baton Rouge.
"It won't be easy, we have a lot of challenges in front of us but we are up for the challenge and we will embrace it. I want the fans to know how important they are to come back out and be a part of what we are doing. I can't do this alone,” Jones said.