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Columbia Hires Villanova Assistant

April 19, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Columbia hired Villanova assistant Joseph Jones as its men’s basketball coach Friday, hoping he can turn around a program that had the worst season in its 103-year history.

Jones, 37, replaces Armond Hill, who was fired March 10 _ two days after the Lions finished with a 2-25 record.

``Joseph will bring a new level of intensity and excitement to Columbia Lions men’s basketball,″ athletic director John Reeves said.

The university said Jones will be formally introduced as the Lions’ coach at a news conference in the near future.

Jones was an assistant at Villanova the last six seasons under Steve Lappas and Jay Wright. His primary responsibilities included recruiting and game scouting for the Wildcats, who played in postseason tournaments in each of the last five seasons.

He also spent four seasons as an assistant under Wright at Hofstra, from 1994-97, and helped the team rise to prominence in the America East Conference.

``Joseph’s skills as a recruiter is his biggest asset,″ Reeves said. ``He has demonstrated ability to recruit and knows the New York area. He has been a key cog at both Villanova and Hofstra.″

Jones, who played his college ball at SUNY-Oswego, will join his brother, James, as coaches in the Ivy League. James Jones completed his fourth season as Yale’s head coach.

The Lions lost their final 18 games last season, the last one a 44-40 defeat at Princeton on Saturday. Hill had a 72-141 record during his eight seasons, beginning in 1995 and none of his teams had winning a record. Columbia also became only the second team to go through an Ivy League season winless, finishing 0-14.

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