Lions Looking To Restore Their Roar

By Richard Kent
Updated: December 12, 2004

Joseph Jones Joe Jones Traci Waites Traci Waites

NEW YORK — There’s a revolution going on at Morningside Heights. No, not the Mark Rudd led revolution of the late 1960′s. It’s in Columbia’s men’s and women’s hoop teams.

Yes, the two teams are a combined 12-4. Those kinds of numbers haven’t happened since a guy named Penders patrolled the sideline at Levien Gym.

This year, it’s men’s coach Joe Jones and women’s coach Traci Waites, along with a little help from Tasha Pointer. All are expatriates from the Big East..
Jones has his team at 6-1 following a 10-17 mark last year and 6-8 in the tough Ivy League in his first season. A former assistant to Jay Wright at Hofstra and Villanova, Jones was recognized by Eastern Basketball Magazine as a top recruiting assistant.
Hard work is what Jones is known for and it’s paying dividends this year. Columbia has already been picked by many scribes to finish third in the Ivies behind perennial powers Princeton and Penn.
And if Jones, with the best freshman class in the Ivies, has his way it will be first. By the way, his older brother James is the head coach at Yale. Not a bad pedigree!
The Lions return to action on Dec. 22, when they travel to Hofstra.
A former Big East co-coach of the year when she was at Pittsburgh, Waites has the Lady Lions at 6-1. It includes a tough road win at Southern Mississippi.
She proven to be a motivator par excellance in her first season at Columbia. Waites also chose former Rutgers All-American Tasha Pointer as an assistant and with Pointer’s help had some top prep talent on campus this past weekend.
Will we hear the name Columbia on Selection Sunday in March? Probably not this year. But don’t count it out next year for the men and the women. The coaches are that good. And the talent will follow.