HEAD COACH JENI JONES
Jeni Jones Chatman enters her second season at the helm of the Central Arkansas volleyball program in 2016.
During her first season at the helm, the Sugar Bears continued their success on the court, going 12-4 in Southland Conference play to finish second in the league. Jones helped coach senior Heather Schnars to her second consecutice Southland Player of the Year award and helped Megan Nash earn Southland Student-Athlete of the Year honors.
Jones became the ninth head coach in Sugar Bear history in January 2015, after spending thirteen seasons at Missouri Valley powerhouse Missouri State. While serving as an assistant coach, and later the associate head coach, for the Bears, Jones helped lead MSU to seven NCAA Tournament appearances and 20 or more victories in 12 of her 13 seasons. With Jones on the sideline, Missouri State compiled an overall record of 291-131 (.690) and a 182-66 (.734) mark in MVC play.
Prior to Missouri State, Jones spend a pair of seasons at Illinois State, helping lead the Redbirds to a 36-23 record and runner-up finishes in the regular season and MVC Tournament.
Jones was a star player at the University of Florida, where she helped lead the Gators to three straight Final Four appearances from 1996-98, while also guiding UF to four straight Southeastern Conference titles.
She was named second-team All-SEC as a senior during the 1998 season, and collected 140 block assists as a senior, a number which was the fourth-best single season total in Florida history at the time.
She was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome, an illness which causes temporary paralysis, in the middle of her playing career, but returned to the court and was awarded the NCAA’s Honda Inspiration Award in 1999. She is also the recipient of the 2008 Springfield Women’s Intersport Network (WIN) Courage Award and the 2012 MVC Most Courageous Award.
After her playing days ended, Jones started her coaching career at Florida, serving as a student assistant and as a club coach in the Gainesville Juniors program.
Jones, from Birmingham, Alabama, was a three-time high school All-American and a two-time state of Alabama Player of the Year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport sciences from Florida in 1999.