Aggies earn a league-high six All-Big West Conference awards; Shorts II becomes conference's first-ever Player and Newcomer of the Year winner
Jonathan Metzger-Jones was assistant coach for five seasons at Montana before arriving to UC Davis on June 16, 2016. In his first season with the program as its assistant coach, Metzger-Jones helped the Aggies construct the program's most successful postseason run.
What began with a come-from-behind victory against the defending league champions in the championship game of the Big West Tournament — the first time the team advanced to the NCAA Tournament in school history by earning the conference's automatic bid — continued four days later when UC Davis earned its first-ever Division I playoff win. By defeating North Carolina Central in the First Four, the Aggies advanced to the Midwest Regional First Round and faced Kansas for the inaugural head-to-head meeting in school history.
"I am extremely excited about this opportunity and joining the UC Davis community. Since I coached for five years, and played another two at other Big West schools, I am very familiar with Aggies, this university and the men's basketball program. I am grateful that Coach Les chose me for this position," said Metzger-Jones.
"I have a strong belief in (Les') coaching style and philosophy about how to run a program, I cannot wait to start working with him, his staff and the student-athletes."
Throughout his tenure in Missoula, the Grizzlies won three Big Sky Championships and advanced to postseason play on four occasions. In addition to competing in the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments, Metzger-Jones' teams also competed in the 2015 National Invitation Tournament and 2016 College Basketball Invitational.
"We are very excited to add Jonathan to our basketball staff. His experience, energy, and track record of success will be instrumental, as we continue to build a championship basketball program that UC Davis, and our community, can be proud of," Les said.
With Metzger-Jones on staff, Montana won 20 or more games in four of his five years. Under his tutelage, 17 Grizzlies earned All-Big Sky Conference honors -- a list that includes Kareem Jamar (2013 league MVP), Will Cherry (Cleveland Cavaliers), Jordan Gregory and Martin Breunig. All four players received NABC All-District recognition.
While at Montana Metzger-Jones was tasked with recruiting, player skill development, opponent scouting, in-game strategy, scheduling, the program’s fundraising efforts and player academics -- an area that saw the Grizzly basketball team post its highest cumulative GPA in program history.
Before he joined the Grizzlies' staff, Metzger-Jones helped lead UC Santa Barbara to its most successful stint in program history. Throughout his four years, the Gauchos won two regular-season titles, consecutive Big West Tournament championships and earned the program's first-ever back-to-back berths at the NCAA Tournament.
While at Santa Barbara, Metzger-Jones recruited and mentored Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally and Alan Williams. Johnson and Williams received Big West MVP distinction in 2010 and 2014 respectively; all three have NBA experience.
Metzger-Jones played two seasons at the University of the Pacific, was named co-captain as a senior and etched his name in the Tigers' records book as one of the program's top 10 three-point shooters when he graduated in 2002 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
Afterwards, he spent three seasons playing professionally in Switzerland, Denmark and Finland.
Upon his return to the United States, Metzger-Jones started his coaching career alongside head coach Bob Burton as his Director of Basketball Operations at Cal State Fullerton. Before transferring to Pacific, he played two seasons at West Valley Junior College for Coach Burton.
By joining Les' staff, Metzger-Jones will return to a familiar environment that is close to home.
"I have numerous friends and family that attended UC Davis. Even though I grew up in Oakland, returning to Northern California, and working at this university, is a homecoming for me."
Metzger-Jones is married to the former Alison Keck. The couple has one son, Jason.
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