Brian Jones and Mark Pryor each led their respective team to historic moments at the University of North Dakota.
Jones was at the helm as the Fighting Hawks made history in 2017, winning the Big Sky Tournament and clinched a first trip to the NCAA Tournament, playing Arizona in March Madness. Pryor was the man who coached UND's volleyball team to back to back NCAA Tourneys, winning 30 games.
For them both to leave for new jobs is not bizarre. It's where they are going that raises eyebrows. Pryor resigned last week, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family back in his native Texas. The next day, Pryor was announced as the new head coach at Mary Hardin-Baylor, a Division 3 school.
Two sources told me Pryor wasn't well liked inside the athletic department. Jones leaves after nearly a decade and a half in Grand Forks. He's going to be an assistant at Illinois State, but will be paid more than he was in Grand Forks. That's an issue. My question for athletic director Bill Chaves, who's been on the job for a year, is why is this happening?
These are major sports at UND, and as we've seen ones that have been successful. It's one thing to lose coaches to new jobs, but to lower division schools and lesser titles? That's not good. Just a couple years ago when UND made the tournament, Jones was the lowest paid coach of the 68 teams in the field. UND can't skimp to find quality coaches. It's happened in football too.
If UND wants to be a serious contender in other sports besides hockey, Chaves is going to need to pay them to keep them around.