McKay Hires Rob Jones; Announces Staff Updates
Liberty men’s basketball head coach Ritchie McKay announced staff updates for the program, highlighted by the hiring of Rob Jones as associate head coach. Jones joins the Flames after spending the last 17 seasons with the Richmond Spiders.
“I am really excited about the addition of Coach Jones to our basketball program and to our campus,” McKay said. “I have known Rob for years and I really admire not only the basketball acumen that he brings to a program but even more impressed with the person he is. To be able to get an individual of Rob’s caliber from a place that he has served so well in a place that has seen so much success speaks volumes to Liberty University and the type of people we can attract here. I know he will add great value to our players’ lives and our family.”
During his 17 seasons at Richmond, Jones helped guide the Spiders to seven 20-win seasons, nine postseason appearances and final national rankings of No. 24 in 2009-10 and No. 21 in 2010-11, following the team’s run to the Sweet 16. Jones was responsible for player development, on-court coaching, recruiting, opponent scouting, and game preparation. He also monitors the academic progress of the student-athletes. During the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, Jones and the Spiders ranked as high as 19th in the AP Top 25 poll following the team’s early-season upset of 10th-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena, the first road win vs an AP top-10 team in program history. In the postseason, Richmond advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals despite playing without its top two leading scorers from the regular season, who were sidelined by injuries. The Spiders finished at 14-9, the 12th time UR has posted a record of .500 or better in the last 14 seasons.
“I am grateful to Coach McKay for the opportunity to join his coaching staff and to work with this talented group of people,” Jones said. “I have known and respected Coach McKay for quite some time, and after having the privilege of getting to know him on a more personal level over the past few years, I have developed an even greater appreciation for him as a man and leader. The Liberty Basketball program’s strong foundation is evident. I am excited to be a part of what the future holds and eager to get to work, with the daily pursuit of excellence both on and off the court.”
Rob Jones Profile
Associate Head Coach, University of Richmond, 2015-2022
Assistant Coach, University of Richmond, 2008-2015
Director of Basketball Operations, University of Richmond, 2005-08
Assistant Coach, University of Alabama-Huntsville, 2004-05
Assistant Coach, Salem (Ga.) High, 2002-04
In addition to the hiring of Jones, McKay has elevated Derek Johnston to associate head coach, Zach Farquhar will now serve as the Director of Player Development, Sam Thomas is now the Director of Operations and Luke McKay has been promoted to video coordinator
Since Johnston arrived at Liberty in the 2018-19 season, Liberty has seen great success in four 20-win seasons, three ASUN Regular Season Championships and three ASUN Tournament Championships. Under Johnston’s leadership, the Flames’ offense has reached new heights since Johnston joined the staff, as the Flames ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2020, in fewest turnovers per game and also ranked No. 7 in the country in 2020 in offensive points per possession.
“Derek Johnston will be a head coach soon thus the promotion to associate head coach is a reflection of his hard work and commitment to Liberty men’s basketball and our family,” McKay said. “He has had a large impact on the way our program operates, and this is a well-earned promotion.”
Luke McKay served as a graduate assistant the past season after earning a spot on the roster during his senior season as the Flames advanced to the NCAA Tournament in the 2020-21 season. Luke McKay will manage all practice, game, opponent, and recruit film. He uses coding and statistical analysis to determine tendencies and improve overall efficiency of play.
“Needless to say, I am biased with this one, however Luke has such a great work ethic, I am elated that he has chosen to jump in and serve our program as video coordinator,” McKay added about Luke.
Zach Farquhar joined the Liberty Men’s Basketball program in 2015 as a player and was a member of the team until 2019, serving as a captain his senior year during Liberty’s historic run in the 2019 NCAA tournament. Farquhar began his role as a graduate assistant in the summer of 2019 and as Director of Player Development his primary role will focus on player relationships and individualized plans for improvement. Farquhar will also coordinate recruiting for the program.