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Coaching great in Alabama dies

Aug. 20, 2008 at 7:46 PM

FLORENCE, Ala., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Former University of North Alabama men's basketball coach Bill Jones, 72, has died after an extended illness at his home in Florence, Ala.

The Florence Times-Daily reported that Jones died late Tuesday.

He coached UNA from 1974-1988, was the first coach to guide the Lions to a national title when they won the NCAA's 1979 Division II championship, and on Dec. 22, 1978, became the school's first full-time athletic director with no coaching responsibilities.

He retired from coaching on Aug. 31, 1994, with an overall record of 259-141, including four Final Four appearances.

When UNA won the national title, Jones, a graduate of Florence State in 1958, was the first coach in state history to win a national basketball championship.

He led the Lions to five Gulf South Conference women's all-sports trophies, two men's all-sports trophies, three NCAA Division II National Championships and 25 Gulf South Conference championships in nine different sports.

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