Her playing days are over, and now Tyler Junior College head coach Trenia Jones has established one of the most successful junior college basketball programs in the area.
Earning her B.S. in Rehabilitation and in Counseling at Stephen F. Austin University, Jones also made the Hall of Fame and All American at SFA, which she attended 1989 through 1994. Shortly after graduating, a passion for the game took her to play professional basketball in Barcelona, Spain for a year.
“It was a great experience, got to live in Spain for 18 months,” Coach Jones said.
“The hardest thing about playing for Barca Basketball for 2 seasons was being so far away from home,” Jones said. “I was there before Facebook, and email, and all that stuff so snail mail is how we got our mail.”
As she waited to receive packages and letters, the hardest thing about her experience in Spain was being a kid from a small town living in a foreign country not knowing the language and having to survive.
“I wasn’t bored. I did it all!” said Jones.
Coach Jones started her coaching career in the University of Arkansas from 1996 to the year 2000 as an assistant women’s basketball coach under National Championship winning Head Coach Gary Blair.
But a head coach’s job for an assistant is to have them ready to become head coaches one day, too since 2000, Jones has taken the role of being a head coach for TJC for 13 years and holds a 72% winning percentage.
“As of 2012 records, so a total of 12 years, she has 274 wins and 116 losses,” said Athletic Director Tim Drain.
“Had a great 12,13 years here. We had good times, bad times, we’ve had wins, we’ve had losses.”
However, it is not an ideal year for the Apache Ladies this year as many unexpected losses have made it a bumpy season.
“I feel like I’ve been really successful not by wins and loses, but the product I’ve put out because I’ve got coaches, teachers, and really good parents.
“It’s been a unique year for us. Coaches and kids have to battle through it,” said Drain.
The players and managers look up to her because of the role she plays both on and off the court.
“As a coach, she truly understands the game and has a different way of looking at it that many cannot see,” said Le’ah Yarber, the teams’ manager.
As a person and as a coach, she shows tough love. While trying to teach work ethic, she encourages her players to take care of business in the classroom first. This head Coach is known to go out of her way to help her team.
“She is a legend and a stud, anyone who is from the Dallas area knows of her,” Drain said. “She has done a good job of surrounding herself, she has coached under one of the best college coaches.”
By Nicole Acosta