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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    A Decade of Zeke Jones Leading Arizona State

    Tuesday, April 9th, marked the 10th anniversary of Arizona State University hiring Zeke Jones. At the time, Arizona State was a program that was only a few years removed (2008) from an attempt to cut the program by the athletic department. The Arizona State name was strong; however, they had recently experienced some up-and-down results. The Sun Devils finished sixth in the country in 2011; behind a pair of national champions, but that was the only time they finished higher than 20th in the nation between 2007-14. 

    Change was on the horizon as the ASU administration looked to a familiar face in alum, Zeke Jones. While hiring an alum is not typically a surprise, this move was a bit unexpected as Jones had spent the previous seven years leading the men’s freestyle team for USA Wrestling. It was Jones’ first college head coaching job, though he has plenty of experience on the collegiate bench. In addition to a stint at ASU, Jones also served as an assistant at Bloomsburg, West Virginia, and Penn. 

    Right away, Jones showed that a new era of Sun Devil wrestling was dawning by signing the top recruiting class in the nation, during his first full recruiting cycle. Not only did he sign highly-touted recruits, but they developed into wrestlers that laid the groundwork for ASU being thought of as a perennial NCAA team trophy contender. That class included the Valencia brothers, Josh Shields, and Josh Maruca. 

    With that foundation in place, ASU has continued to recruit well and produce on the mat. Now top-ten finishes at nationals have been commonplace for the Sun Devils, as have multiple-time All-Americans. 

    Just how regular have those items become? That and more below as we have some facts to highlight a decade of success for Zeke Jones at his alma mater. 

     

    Jones has produced 64 national qualifiers during his tenure at ASU.

    • Three times they have sent eight wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament (including 2024)

    ASU wrestlers have won 43 individual Pac-12 titles under Jones

    2 wrestlers have combined to win three NCAA Titles (Zahid Valencia x2; Richie Figueroa x1)

    13 wrestlers have combined to earn NCAA All-American honors 27 times (in only 9 national tournaments)

    7 of those wrestlers have earned NCAA All-American honors on more than one occasion

    Figueroa is the seventh wrestler to be named Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year under Jones. 

    Jones has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year on three occasions. 

    Since 2014, his staff has signed six top-ten overall recruits.

    They Inked the top overall recruiting class in 2015, headlined by #1 Zahid Valencia and #2 Anthony Valencia. 

    The Sun Devils did not place in the top-20 at nationals in each of his first two seasons. They haven’t missed it since then. 

    Placed in the top-ten at nationals five times. 

    Won a pair of NCAA team trophies (4th in 2021 and 4th in 2022). In both of those seasons the Sun Devils had five All-Americans

    The team high in NCAA points under Jones is 74 in 2021. 

    Haven’t finished lower than seventh at each of the last four NCAA Tournaments. 

    During this recent four-year run of top seven finishes, Arizona State wrestlers have combined to go 92-58 at the NCAA Tournament. 

    In the decade before Jones’ hire ASU had placed in the top-20 at the NCAA Tournament on four occasions and inside the top-ten twice. 

    In November of 2019, ASU stopped Penn State’s 60-dual winning streak with a 19-18 upset. The previous season, Penn State beat the Sun Devils, 41-3. 

    Arizona State has won six Pac-12 team titles under Jones’ direction. 

    The first Pac-12 title for Jones at ASU came in 2017. It snapped a decade-plus drought without a conference title that started after their 2006 win. 

    In dual competition, ASU is 91-45 since Jones’ arrival. 

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