Jacksonville University Names Cliff Warren New Men's Basketball Coach

April 20, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Cliff Warren, an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for the past five years, has been named the new head men's basketball coach at Jacksonville University, Dolphin athletic director Alan Verlander announced today. In 11 seasons as an assistant coach, Warren has been part of programs which have earned eight postseason berths, including five NCAA Tournament bids and three NIT berths.

"This is the beginning of a new era in Jacksonville University athletics," said Verlander, who was named JU's seventh director of athletics on March 8. "Cliff Warren is a winner on and off the basketball court. He sees the value of playing basketball, but he also sees the value of a great education. Cliff is also a community builder whose level of enthusiasm will be contagious throughout Jacksonville.

"Cliff's basketball knowledge, coupled with his tenacious personality, will pay immediate dividends here at JU. We are fortunate to have a coach of his caliber, and I am certain we will reap the harvest of his hard work and dedication."

Warren becomes the 15th head coach in the 57-year history of JU basketball and the first African-American head coach in any sport at Jacksonville University.

"This is an exciting time, not only for our men's basketball program, but for our entire university," said JU President Kerry Romesburg. "Cliff Warren brings a winning attitude and a youthful energy that will help spark a new era in JU Dolphin basketball. Cliff's record as a player and as an assistant coach speaks strongly about the kind of student-athletes he will develop as head coach here at Jacksonville University."

"For me this is a dream come true," said Warren. "I want to thank President Romesburg and Alan Verlander for giving me the opportunity to live my boyhood dream of becoming a head men's basketball coach. I'm going to do whatever I can to make this basketball program successful and make sure our student-athletes represent Jacksonville University to the best of their abilities.

"This moment right now is not about me, it's about the players. If not for them, I would not be here today. I want to thank all the players, coaches and administration at Georgia Tech, Siena and Mount St. Mary's for giving me an opportunity and helping to shape my basketball career."

Warren has spent the last five seasons as an assistant to Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech, where he has helped lead the Yellow Jackets to 96 wins and four postseason appearances (3 NCAA; 1 NIT). Tech was 20-12 this past season and made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2004, Warren helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 28-10 record and the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA National Championship game, where Tech lost to eventual national champion Connecticut. The Yellow Jackets also went to the NCAA Tournament in 2001 following a 17-13 campaign and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT in 2002.

"I'm thrilled for Cliff and Jacksonville University," said Hewitt, who has made seven postseason appearances in the last eight years. "They are hiring someone who has been a vital part of my staff for the last eight years and deserves an awful lot of the credit for any of the success that we have had over that period. In addition to being an excellent basketball mind, teacher and recruiter, Cliff brings a level of enthusiasm that the Jacksonville community will benefit from right away."

"I'm going to do whatever I can to make this basketball program successful and make sure our student-athletes represent Jacksonville University to the best of their abilities."
Cliff Warren

Prior to joining the Tech staff, the 37-year-old Warren spent three years (1998-2000) as an assistant at Siena College under Hewitt, where he helped lead the Saints to a 66-27 record, two postseason berths and three straight appearances in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament finals. In 1999, Siena won the MAAC Tournament championship and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years, while ranking third in the nation in scoring with 86.6 points per game. The Saints followed that by winning the 2000 MAAC regular-season championship and advancing to the second round of the NIT, while once again finishing as the third-highest scoring team in the country (86.7 ppg). Warren's work at Siena was recognized by Eastern Basketball magazine, which named him one of the top recruiters at a mid-level program.

The Silver Spring, Md., native started his career as an assistant at his alma mater, Mount St. Mary's, under the legendary Jim Phelan. In 1995, Warren helped lead the Mountaineers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance. He followed that with an NIT appearance in 1996 after Mount St. Mary's won the Northeast Conference Championship.

Warren was a two-year starter for the Mountaineers, where he finished his career ranked in the top five in assists and top 50 in scoring in the school record book. As a senior in 1989-90, he averaged 10.4 points and 5.0 assists per game, while leading the Mount to its first winning season in Division I (16-12). Warren earned his bachelor of science in business finance from Mount St. Mary's in 1990 and then worked as a graduate assistant coach and earned a master of business administration in 1993.

Cliff Warren addresses a crowd of media, fans, students and more Wednesday during his press conference at Swisher Gymnasium.

Before returning to Mount St. Mary's as a full-time assistant coach in 1994-95, Warren played professionally for the Frederick Flyers of the Atlantic Basketball Association. Midway through the season, he was named assistant coach. In addition, he worked as an intern for the NBA's Washington Wizards in 1993-94.

Warren's hire ends a four-week process to replace JU's all-time winningest Division I coach, Hugh Durham, who retired on March 21 after eight seasons at Jacksonville. The Dolphins went 16-13 this past season and advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.

The Cliff Warren File

Full Name:Jon Clifford Warren
Born:March 8, 1968
Hometown:Silver Spring, Md.
Education:B.S. in Business Finance (1990), Mount St. Mary's
MBA (1993), Mount St. Mary's
Playing Experience:Four-year letterman at Mount St. Mary's (1987-91)
Frederick Flyers, Atlantic Basketball Association (1993-94)
Coaching Experience:Assistant coach, Mount St. Mary's (1994-97)
Assistant coach, Sienna (1998-2000)
Assistant coach, Georgia Tech (2001-05)