Arizona State head coach Zeke Jones (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Arizona State's head coach Zeke Jones has agreed to a five-year contract extension to keep him in Tempe through the 2026-2027 season.
"Zeke has proven himself to be one of the best wrestling coaches in the country," Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson said. "The way he's managed to turn the Arizona State program around and return us to prominence is inspiring and exactly what we brought him on to do eight years ago."
Jones responded that the contract extension starts at the top of the ladder.
"It always starts with the president and athletic director," Jones said. "They care about the sport and want to see it be successful. Guys like Sun Devil Wrestling Executive Board, they are supportive, love the sport and willing to give time and resources to the program too."
Since Jones took over the program in 2014, he has become one of the winningest coaches in ASU history, leading the Sun Devils to back-to-back NCAA team trophies, four Pac-12 team titles, 25 All-America honors, and 32 individual conference titles.
"We have done some monumental things, broke a lot of records and reset history," Jones said.
Jones decided to take the offer because Arizona State has always felt like home to him and his family.
"It's where I started my journey after high school," Jones said. "I have loved wrestling since I was a kid but made my biggest gains when I went off to college. It was life-forming. It was where I was able to grow as a man, husband, coach, and father. ASU created all that for me."
In addition, Jones decided to stay in the desert because he could not pass up on an opportunity that very few are handed.
"There's no guarantee in life with anything," Jones said. "The opportunity to lead the Sun Devils in the future is an opportunity that very few get to experience. It's a fantastic school with a great wrestling tradition and I'm excited about what we can do in the future."
ASU staff and wrestlers did celebrate the extension. However, they kept it calm and collected.
"They were congratulatory, which was nice," Jones said. "However, it was more of a formality because we love this partnership we are in. The commitment was on both sides from my family and I to the athletic department and the university side too. It's like a marriage that's good."
In the next few years, Jones hopes to help his wrestlers succeed on and off the mat, earning their degrees and winning at the highest levels. However, there is one goal Jones has still yet to check off his box.
"We want more Master's degrees, more Pac-12 Championships, more NCAA champions.," Jones said. " Ultimately, we are still striving for the big one. We want to add to some of our success and get into some uncharted territory."
Although he is eager to hunt down an NCAA team title, he is grateful for the contract extension. Plus, he is thankful for the Sun Devil community which has been supporting him all the way.
"Thanks to everybody who has supported our effort at Arizona State, to my family and I, we are excited," Jones said. "We are not going to stop until we get on top."