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Hoop Hall of Famer Coaching at URI

October 14, 1999

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Basketball Hall of Famer K.C. Jones, who starred for and later coached the Boston Celtics to two NBA titles, was hired Thursday by the University of Rhode Island as an assistant for the women’s team.

Jones, 67, most recently was head coach of the Hartford-based New England Blizzard of the women’s American Basketball League. The league disbanded following the 1998-99 season.

``I chose to take this position because I still have a passion for this game of basketball,″ Jones said. ``I’m not ready to give it up yet ... I think I still have something to offer.″

For its part, Rhode Island is hoping Jones will be able to help get the women’s basketball team into shape.

Rhode Island was 18-63 over the past three seasons under head coach Linda Zemke. She was fired after the 1998-99 season and replaced by Linda Pearman, who recommended the hiring of Jones.

``When the university administration said it wanted a national-level women’s basketball program, I knew the first thing that had to be done was to put a national-level coaching staff in place,″ said Pearman, a former assistant to Jones with the Blizzard.

Terms of Jones’ contract with Rhode Island were not disclosed.

Jones said coaching women for two seasons gave him a new perspective on the game.

``Once you’ve seen four, five women’s games, it goes beyond gender,″ he said. ``It’s how they play. It’s like `I’ve got to get an A in hustle.‴

``They play what you call fundamental basketball.″

During Jones’ playing days from 1958-67, the Celtics won eight NBA championships.

He guided the Celtics to NBA titles in 1984 and 1986, coaching such greats as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Jones, inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989, also has been head coach of the Washington Bullets, and the Seattle Supersonics.

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