June 30, 2005
DURHAM, N.C.—For building Tulane into one of the nation’s most consistent winners and tying a school record for wins this season, Rick Jones has been named Baseball America’s 2005 Coach of the Year.
Jones led Tulane, 56-12, to both a Conference USA regular season and tournament title and a College World Series berth.
Jones, 51, has coached the Green Wave for 12 seasons, recording two trips to the CWS and 10 appearances in regional tournament play. This year, Tulane showed a consistent high level of play, opening the season as the top team in the country and finishing the year as the top seed in the NCAA tournament.
The 56 wins this year matched the school record set by Jones and his 2001 Green Wave squad. Jones won his 500th game at Tulane earlier this year. In more than a century of baseball at Tulane before Jones took over, the baseball team qualified for the NCAA tournament just seven times. Now the Green Wave is in the midst of an eight-year postseason streak.
Jones has been able to succeed despite recruiting in the same state as Louisiana State, which has won five national championships. Tulane has shown it can compete with LSU, though, beating the Tigers in a 2001 super-regional for its first trip to Omaha and sweeping the series this season.
"His best quality as a coach is he gets average players to play much higher than their potential because he demands perfection," said Scott Madden, a redshirt senior who played on the 2001 and 2005 CWS teams. "We do a drill in practice called ‘27 Outs’ where we go through defensive game situations, and we don't stop until we gets 27 straight outs. If we mess up, we start all over, and sometimes it can take an hour to get it right. But he never wavers. He gets the best out of you at practice and it carries over into the games."